Q: Have China and ASEAN made any improvements in preparing to establish the Free Trade Area?
A: On the 5th Leaders Meeting in Brunei last November, leaders of China and ASEAN countries agreed to establish a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in the coming ten years and to authorize their economic ministers and senior officials to start Free Trade Agreement negotiations at an earlier date.
To finalize the reached consensus and launch relevant negotiations, the two sides have already begun their contacts at the working level. At present, smooth developments have been witnessed. China has sent a special delegation to some of the ASEAN countries lately to learn the situation there. At the beginning of February, ASEAN held the economic senior officials' meeting, conducting initial research on launching Free Trade Area negotiations with China. The next step will be to formulate a road map for negotiations through consultation so as to launch negotiations. We believe that China-ASEAN Free Trade Area will bring about a win-win situation to the two sides.