On January 1st 2010, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took effect. The newly formed FTA is the third largest in the world, with a GDP of $6.6 trillion and a population of 1.9 billion. Prior to the agreement in 2008, China was ASEAN’s third-largest trading partner.
Despite the concerns of members like Indonesia over the impact that the agreement will have on domestic industry, ASEAN is confident that China will act cooperatively in order to ensure mutual gains. The State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Dai Bingguo, recently met with the ASEAN Secretariat to discuss China’s commitment to aid in the transition process, confirming China’s position in a speech before more than 300 dignitaries. This was the first time that a high-level Chinese Diplomat visited the ASEAN Secretariat.
Further, as the Secretary General of ASEAN notes, there are mechanisms such as anti-dumping safeguards in the FTA to protect the domestic markets of ASEAN member states.
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