Asian Business Communities Eager to Bolster Cooperation with China in Economy and Trade
The 15th China-South Asia Business Forum was held during November 19th-21st in Kunming, China. Representatives from business communities of Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan attended and delivered video speeches at the forum, calling for bolstering cooperation between their countries and China in economy and trade.
“Afghanistan is at the junction of the Central, South and West Asia connecting with China and on the route of goods transport via these regions. There is great potential for development.” said Shafiqullah Atayee, chief executive officer of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Industries. He hoped that China can continue to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan in commercial trade and invest in urban infrastructure and airport construction to help improve the local conditions for traffic, transport, trade and exchanges.
Rajeev Singh, director general of Indian Chamber of Commerce, said that India-China relations have been long established, and the cooperation of two sides in trade and commerce is deepening. From 2015 to 2021, the bilateral trade volume increased by about 75%, with the growth rate of 12% per year. In 2021, India’s trade with China hit $125.6 billion, exceeding 100 billion for the first time. “Nevertheless, investment did not keep the same growing pace with trade, leaving room for further improvement.”
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries, mentioned that China is Pakistan’s major trade partner, and thanks to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, significant improvements have been made in its national industry and energy structure, as well as road accessibility. “We hope that China can make more investments into Pakistan’s industry and technology sectors, especially into economic development zones.”
“The ‘Belt & Road’ construction has enhanced the cooperation in trade and supply chain between Sri Lanka and China.” said Keerthi Gunawardane, President of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka. He believed that with favorable geographical conditions, Sri Lanka will become an international cargo storage and distribution center and, enough to say, a logistic hub of the Indian Ocean. Currently the government is concentrating efforts on the development of ports and port cities, and it hopes that Chinese investors can focus on relevant projects.
Zhang Shenfeng, vice president of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, stated that the Council and China Chamber of International Commerce will work as always with the business communities at home and abroad and Yunnan Province to explore untapped potentials for trade and investment, optimize the regional business environment, and bring the role of the forum into full play to facilitate the economic and trade cooperation between China and other parts of the world.
China-South Asia Business Forum is the first institutional forum established jointly by the business communities of China and South Asian countries for the purpose of developing regional economy through cooperation. 14 sessions of the Forum have been held at Kunming so far since 2004, promoting the regional exchanges and cooperation significantly.
This Forum is carried out on the theme of “building and optimizing the industrial chain and supply chain in the pandemic context”, together with a series of events – the Opening Ceremony, the 4th China-South Asia Aviation Conference, China (Yunnan) – Bangladesh Matchmaking Conference for Cooperation in Economy and Trade, China-South Asia Business Council Meeting and BCIM Business Council Meeting, which will bring more opportunities and momentum for regional economic recovery.