CAFTA Clears First Hurdle
In the midst of the global economic crisis last year, CAFTA, or China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, was established to assist numerous regions in weathering the economic storm. Free trade posts were also set up with South Korea, as well as Japan. Looking back on a year of working with ASEAN, it has been revealed that economic growth and export development have increased in leaps and bounds, and that the future of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area looks brighter than ever. The first year was the greatest hurdle to overcome, and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has passed with flying colors.
The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area is an initiative that saw to the combining of countries that are in the stages of development, located in the region, and had a joint population of approximately 1.9 billion people. The gross domestic product of the regions that fall within the trade area was estimated at a maximum of six trillion dollars (US). During its first few months, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area began to see enormous growth, and now, one year later, it has proven to be a success beyond everyone’s expectations.
Yi Xiaozhun, the Vice Minister of Commerce for China, gave a report on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area at the Third 10 + 3 Media Cooperation Forum, which was held on Wednesday, 21 April 2010. According to Xiaozhun, the trade between China-ASEAN has seen a dramatic increase in the first three months of 2010. He explained that exports from China to ASEAN had increased by 46.7 percent and that exports from ASEAN to China now stand at 76.6 percent. The positive development of China, regional growth included, will also benefit other countries in Asia, such as East Asia, that exports and imports approximately forty percent of its products to China. More than half of East Asia’s foreign investments are also in China. The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has therefore not only assisted China, but has had a far reaching affect on other countries. Yi Xiaozhun now looks towards the future, commenting: “It is time to speed up economic and trade cooperation in East Asia.”