The ongoing U.S. – China trade war could have dealt a heavy blow to China’s export-oriented enterprises. According to the Russian government-owned news agency Sputnik News, Xu Ningning, the executive director of the government backed China-ASEAN Business Council, advised that China and ASEAN should cooperate in manufacturing.
In fact, the joint production plan was implemented a long time ago. Against the current backdrop, the cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries will gain new momentum. China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has a Science and Technology Park under construction in its neighboring country of Vietnam. The goods produced there, which can be labeled “Made in Vietnam” according to the Rules of Origin, are not subject to the U.S. tariffs. The question is then whether the U.S. will exert its influence against such cooperation.
Chen Fengying, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told Sputnik News that, “Every country focuses on its own national interests. Because of the pressure from the U.S., they are also looking for a new development model, such as the cooperation between Vietnam and China. As to whether the U.S. will obstruct the deal, I think that even if the U.S. has such an idea, it may not be realized. Not every country completely obeys the U.S.”
Chen added, “The changes in the external environment will prompt Asia to strengthen cooperation. On the one hand, we must unite the Asian countries; on the other hand, we cannot ignore cooperation with the outside world. Asia has a good regional cooperation mechanism. Examples are the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ‘One Belt, One Road.’”
Trade statistics show that the mutual interests between China and ASEAN are growing. In the first five months of this year, the trade volume between China and ASEAN increased by 20 percent, while the overall growth rate of China’s foreign trade during the same period was 16.8 percent. Trade between China and the EU increased by 15.1 percent. At the same time, the trade between China and the U.S. was slightly behind with a growth of 13.1 percent.
Source: Sputnik News, July 13, 2018