ASEAN sees huge business potential in China's B and R initiative

| Updated: May 16, 2017 15:40 IST

Hong Kong [China], May 16 (ANI): ASEAN countries should use China's Belt and Road initiative to develop their business ties to an enhanced level, said one of its key officials. Speaking at a seminar on ASEAN Community Building and China-ASEAN Relations, A K P Mochtan, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for Community and Corporate Affairs, said there are many potential cooperation opportunities between China and ASEAN despite China and some ASEAN countries having a dispute over the South China Sea. Economic relations between China and ASEAN have been steadily improving. By the end of 2016, two-way investments had exceeded USD160 billion. According statistics, bilateral trade has also increased massively, from USD 7.96 billion in 1991 to USD 472.16 billion in 2015. Describing Beijing as the world's top infrastructure developer, Zhuang Guotu, head of the Center of Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University, was quoted by the Global Times, as saying that China offers huge potential in terms of technical support to other countries in this particular sphere. Meanwhile, the Philippines has also welcomed the Border and Road initiative, saying that connectivity will be strengthened between Beijing and other Asian nations. The Philippines is keen to work with Chinese firms on more infrastructure-related projects, said Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar. So far, he said, Beijing has helped with feasibility studies for major projects. "Some Philippine companies have already partnered with Chinese counterparts willing to get involved in major infrastructure projects. China has been very supportive and we're very thankful for their support," Villar added. (ANI with inputs)