China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have reaffirmed their commitment to establish a free trade area covering their countries, South China Morning Post said. In preparation for two days of talks in Guilin, Guangxi region, the participants issued a statement saying that tariff reductions would start in January 2005 and be completed by 2010. Earlier, Xinhua had reported that negotiations on tariffs would start this year and be completed by June next year.
Trade between the mainland and the member states of Asean reached US$54.8bn last year, up 32 per cent from 2001.
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