[photopress:ASEAN.jpg,full,alignright]At the China-ASEAN summit in Nanning, southern China, a joint statement was made by leaders from China and the ten ASEAN countries. (ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.)
Talks on trade in services and investment are ongoing, and ASEAN officials say the parties are trying to finish negotiations on the first tranche of services to be liberalized by the end of 2006.
The centerpiece of deepening relations is the plan to create the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (FTA) by 2010.
While the FTA, which will incorporate 1.8 billion or one third of the world’s population, is taking shape, more cooperation is needed between China and ASEAN countries for logistics development, so as to keep apace with their booming bilateral trade.
Chen Gongyu, vice chairman of the China Society of Logistics, said, ‘Underdevelopment of infrastructure has made logistics a bottleneck to China-ASEAN economic development.’
He suggested that three more arterial railways would be helpful:
An east line by the Beibu Gulf winding from Nanning in south China ‘s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region via Dongxing of the region, Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh to Bangkok in Thailand
A central line, which is also expected to be a tourism line, linking Nanning with Hanoi, Vientiane of Laos, Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia and Singapore.
A west line running from southwest China’s Sichuan province by way of Cao Bang of Vietnam and ending in Hanoi.
Ding Junfa, vice chairman of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that although China’s logistics market is expanding at an average rate of 20 percent year-on-year, its cost is still high compared with developed countries.
Total logistics cost in China accounts for 18.6 percent of the nation’s GDP, almost doubling the figures in the United States and Japan.