NANNING, China: Regardless of the tensions over a number of maritime territorial disputes, China and the Southeast Asian countries will once again stage one of the biggest collaborative expos in the region to promote better economic ties and cooperation among its member states.
The China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) is an event co-sponsored by commerce and trade ministries and departments of China and the 10 Asean member states, namely: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Caexpo will be holding its 10th edition this September and will be held at the host city of Nanning, Gunagxi Province, China. It will showcase various commodities from each country including food and agricultural products, raw materials, machinery, electronics, consumer goods, services, furniture, crafts, among others.
Zheng Junjian, secretary-general of the Caexpo secretariat, explained that the Caexpo is a very important event that forges stronger economic and trade ties in the region, especially since several Asean countries posted remarkable economic growth in the past few years.
“The objective of Caexpo is to enhance the bilateral, friendly cooperation between China-Asean as well as economic and trade sectors in China and Asean,” Zheng said through a translator. He made the remarks during one of the lectures at the Economic and Trade Seminar for Asean Journalists held in Nanning from June 18 to 30.
Zheng noted that Caexpo is one of the platforms made to help China and the Asean countries—which are mostly developing nations—to attract investors and possible trading partners. It also helps Southeast Asian communities and businesses to promote and penetrate the booming Chinese market.
Since the Caexpo was launched in 2003, over 358,000 trade visitors attended the event and the trade volume among the participants posted $13.568 billion while the contractual volume of international cooperation projects reached $57.376 billion.
Although it is noted that tensions in the region has gradually increased because of the West Philippine Sea (also known as the South China Sea) dispute, Zheng clarified that the Caexpo is not and will not be affected by the row.
“It’s a problem that should be solved by the leaders of the countries concerned. The Caexpo does not involve in these [issues],” he said. “China-Asean expo itself will settle a tangible outcome for the bilateral friendly cooperation, economic exchanges, and people to people exchanges… [it will]prove that only friendly cooperation in China-Asean [region]will achieve future benefits of common investments and win-win results.”
Proving that the maritime dispute with China is considered nothing more than a political issue, the Philippines is one of the honored guests in this year’s Caexpo.