On August 27 and 28, Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce attended the nineteenth AEM-MOFCOM Consultations, the twenty-third AEM Plus Three Consultations and the eighth EAS Economic Ministers’ Meeting, during the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings via video conference. The participants exchanged in-depth views on important regional and international economic and trade issues such as jointly developing the Belt and Road Initiative, anti-epidemic and economic cooperation and trade between China, ASEAN and other countries in the region, steadily upgrading regional and global supply and industrial chains, promoting economic integration in East Asia and the world, and safeguarding the multilateral trading system. The relevant meetings were also attended by economic and trade officials from the 10 ASEAN Member States, and the ASEAN Dialogue Partners, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, the United States and Russia.
At the AEM-MOFCOM Consultations, economic ministers from the ASEAN Member States (AMS) and China spoke highly of the fact that China-ASEAN trade and investment cooperation bucked the trend and achieved a robust growth momentum. The two sides have become each other’s largest trading partner, a historic breakthrough. The two sides are satisfied with the progress made during the decade after the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (ACFTA) was fully established. China and ASEAN will further develop the ACFTA to bring more benefits to businesses and people from both sides. At the same time, the two sides will push for steady progress in sub-regional cooperation such as the BIMP-EAGA and China Cooperation (BECC) and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), speed up cooperation on development assistance and work together to hold the 17th China-ASEAN Expo. The consultations produced three deliverables: First, a consensus was reached on the Future Work Programme under the ACFTA Upgrading Protocol. Second, the two sides confirmed the initiation of cooperation projects, including the “Outreach Program on Revised ROO under ACFTA Upgrading Protocol”. Third, the ministers reaffirmed the Joint Statement on Enhancing Cooperation under FTA and Combating COVID-19 published in the name of the economic and trade ministers of China and AMSs.
At the AEM Plus Three Consultations, all parties agreed to earnestly implement the consensus of the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019, steadily improve regional supply and industrial chains, and push for the signing of the RCEP Agreement within this year. At the Consultations, the Ministers were briefed on the work by the East Asia Business Council (EABC), and expressed their unanimous support to build a stronger, more integrated and competitive economy of East Asia. The Consultations achieved three deliverables: endorsing the ASEAN Plus Three Plan of Action on Mitigating the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, adopting the Executive Summary of the Sub-Reports of the Joint Study on “10+3” Cooperation for Improvement of Supply Chain Connectivity, and adopting the ASEAN Plus Three Economic Cooperation Work Programme 2019-2020.
At the EAS meeting, the participants agreed to implement cooperation proposals to mitigate the negative social and economic impact of the pandemic, maintain supply chain and market stability, boost economic recovery, and strengthen the economic resilience of the region. They expressed their support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization, and their willingness to work together to foster an open, transparent, non-discriminatory, stable, mutually-beneficial and win-win environment for trade and investment.