Chinese premier calls for better business, investment exchanges with ASEAN

Xinhua, November 16, 2020

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business and Investment Summit via video link on Nov. 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday called for better business and investment cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.

Li made the remarks in a speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, which was held via video link.

As the COVID-19 pandemic posed a serious threat to the security and health of people all over the world, the global economy is experiencing the worst recession since World War II, Li said.

The China-ASEAN trade volume increased by 5 percent year on year in the first three quarters of this year and China's investment in ASEAN increased by 76.6 percent year on year, Li said, noting that ASEAN has become China's largest trading partner.

With decisive and effective macro-economic policies, China's economy resumed positive growth in the first three quarters, he said, stressing that this is not easy for a large country with a population of 1.4 billion.

He promised that efforts would continue to be made in cutting taxes and fees, improving the business environment, and stimulating the vitality of hundreds of millions of market entities.

Noting that China's daily increase in market entities has returned to the level of the same period last year, Li said employment and people's livelihoods have been effectively protected.

He voiced his confidence that China's economy would achieve positive growth this year, emphasizing that"among the world's major economies, China has taken the lead in economic recovery."

Given the difficulties and challenges posed by economic recession, shrinking trade and rising protectionism, the premier said China would continue to promote cooperation with ASEAN countries, support multilateralism and free trade, and safeguard world peace and development.

He called for more efforts in facilitating regional economic integration, saying that China has always believed free trade should be advanced within the framework of the World Trade Organization.

Noting that the past ten years have witnessed the increasingly rich content of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, Li said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is expected to be signed during the upcoming series of East Asian leaders' meetings. This will send a positive and clear message to advance regional economic integration and globalization.

"We will intensify strategic alignment with ASEAN countries on the basis of mutual benefits and win-win results, and speed up joint construction of the Belt and Road," Li said.

The Chinese premier also called on East Asian countries to continue to play an important role in the world economy, despite the current grave situation.

"We should not only carry out cooperation among advanced technologies and large companies, but also create new cooperation opportunities among micro, small and medium-sized enterprises," he said.

With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of a dialogue partnership between China and ASEAN, Li expressed his belief that bilateral cooperation would become more mature, head in a win-win direction, further benefit the people of China and ASEAN countries, and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.