Saturday, August 15, 2009
China, ASEAN expand cooperation to cover investment
China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) took a major step on Saturday to broaden economic cooperation by signing an agreement to promote investment. The investment pact is the third free-trade agreement concluded between China and the 10-member Asian regional group following separate FTAs on trade in goods that took effect from mid-2005, and on services two years later.
China is the eighth biggest investor in ASEAN with outstanding two-way investment totalling $11.7 billion at the end of 2008. ASEAN groups Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.
The investment FTA calls for host countries to provide protection for foreign direct and portfolio investments, and compensation against damages caused by riots and political disturbances. It also eases restrictions on equity ownership and land acquisition.
China is ASEAN's fourth-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade rising to about $231 billion in 2008, up 14 percent from a year earlier.