The bilateral relationship between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) and China is very good and the regional bloc wants to see more investment and tourists from China, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said here Monday.
“The ASEAN relation with China has been very productive and both sides certainly take the relationship very seriously,” he said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.
He said that the bilateral trade between ASEAN and China is growing very fast and the trade balance has been in China’s favor.
“Certainly, we are hoping that there will be more investment coming from China in order to sustain this growth and to make the relationship more balance,” he said.
Asked about China’s role in helping ASEAN realize the Economic Community by 2015, Surin said China is the largest market for ASEAN and the country is certainly a growth engine for ASEAN as it has been the growth engine for the rest of the world.
He added that China has helped ASEAN a lot in infrastructure development.
In ASEAN’s process to build an economic community by 2015, Surin said that ASEAN has done well in terms of soft infrastructure such as agreements, protocols, and various elements of cooperation and coordination among member states.
“To date, we have ratified about 73 percent of all the major instruments of cooperation among ASEAN,” he said. “We have less than 30 percent to go, and our challenge is how to implement every of them, and how to translate the regional ASEAN commitments into the national agenda implementation, rules, laws and regulations.”
“We will accelerate our efforts in order to make sure that all these agreements are not only ratified, but also implemented,” he said.
He expressed confidence that ASEAN will be able to achieve the Economic Community by 2015 thanks to ASEAN’s joint commitment and help from dialogue partners.
He said the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community would be a market of 600 million people and would be more attractive to the world in terms of trade and investment.