From China’s point of view this is seen as way of securing supplies of raw materials, while countries who make up the rest of ASEAN – an amazingly wide group ranging from Laos to Singapore – see the agreement as offering opportunities in China’s huge market. (The illustration is from a market in Vietnam.)
World's 3rd biggest trade zone
China has signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN to form an economic bloc which will be the third biggest in the world.
China and ASEAN first broached this subjuect in November 2002 when an initial FTA goods and services agreement was signed. Since then many of the tariffs and trade barriers have been eliminated.
Tariffs on 90% of goods traded with China will be totally gone by 2010 for Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and by 2015 for Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Forexpros.com reports China-ASEAN trade is targeted to hit $200 billion by 2010, up from $192.6 billion in 2008 and $113 billion in 2005. This will make it the third-largest free trade zone in trade volume after the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Area.