Strengthening digital economy cooperation

Azlan Othman

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area and the Year of China-ASEAN Digital Economy Cooperation.

Themed ‘Building the Belt and Road, Strengthening Digital Economy Cooperation’, the China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning, China demonstrated the outcomes of China-ASEAN joint efforts to combat COVID-19, deepened all-round China-ASEAN friendship and economic cooperation and trade in various fields and achieved a safe and orderly CAEXPO and China-ASEAN Business Investment Summit (CABIS).

During the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a comprehensive review of the fruitful results in China-ASEAN cooperation in recent years. He spoke highly of China-ASEAN relations as the most successful and dynamic model of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and a vivid example of promoting the building of a community of a shared future for mankind; and stressed that under the new circumstances, ASEAN is a neighbouring policy priority and a priority region in jointly building a high-quality Belt and Road Initiative for China.

China supports the building of the ASEAN community, ASEAN’s centrality in the East Asian cooperation, and ASEAN’s greater role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture. President Xi Jinping proposed a four-point initiative on building a closer China-ASEAN community of a shared future, fully demonstrating China’s responsibility as a major country with concrete action in tapping growth drivers for the world economy, opening up space for international economic cooperation, creating well-being for the people of all countries, including ASEAN, and contribute to the building of a community of a shared future for mankind.

The foreign leaders spoke highly of China-ASEAN strategic partnership, reaffirmed the important role played by the CAEXPO and CABIS in promoting cooperation, and expressed their firm confidence in strengthening FTA cooperation, jointly upholding the multilateral trading system, working together to fight the pandemic, and accelerating the recovery of the regional economy.

A total of 1,668 exhibitors attended; ASEAN and extra-regional countries accounted for 18.2 per cent of the exhibition area; and 108 exhibitors from 22 countries along the Belt and Road attended the exhibition. There were 1,956 exhibitors in the online CAEXPO, of which 21 per cent were foreign exhibitors, achieving full coverage and all-channel marketing promotion of exhibitors online. Eighty-four domestic and foreign purchasing groups attended the exhibition online and offline.