When some western countries began to pin their hope of economic recovery on trade protectionism, China and the 10 ASEAN countries are immersed in the delight of embracing a free trade area which will allow goods to flow across borders freely.
The free trade area has undoubtedly become a central theme of the five-day China-ASEAN Expo, held from Oct. 20 to 24 in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. State leaders, high-ranking officials and businessmen all applauded free trade while scolding trade restrictive measures.
Out of the 4,000 booths at the expo, the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) occupied 1,168, a record high since the first expo in 2004.
What's special of this year's expo was that attendees also included enterprises from nations beyond the China-ASEAN region, such as the United States, France, Italy and enterprises from Hungary and Madagascar that exhibited for the first time at the expo, desiring opportunities for trade and investment cooperation.
These facts showed the common pursuit of these enterprises as well as officials from China and ASEAN at the expo -- "trust, cooperation and free trade".
The upcoming China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) is obviously a significant event attracting worldwide attention.
The CAFTA, due for operation on Jan. 1, 2010, will cover a population of 1.9 billion and conduct zero-tariff policy on 90 percent of the products traded between China and ASEAN.