Representatives from 10 ASEAN Countries Convene in Qianhai to Explore New Opportunities

The highly anticipated 2023 ASEAN-China Greater Bay Area Economic Cooperation (Qianhai) Forum kicked off in Qianhai on July 29.

This momentous event attracted the participation of distinguished representatives from 10 ASEAN countries, over 150 foreign guests, and 350 delegates from chambers of commerce, think tanks and enterprises hailing from the vibrant Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, who had in-depth discussions on new international cooperation opportunities.

The opening ceremony of the forum was chaired by Huang Xiaopeng, First Deputy Director General of the Qianhai Authority. Prominent figures such as Shi Zhongjun, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre, and Wang Shourui, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen Municipality delivered captivating opening speeches.

Shi highlighted the significance of the distinguished guests and delegates convening in Qianhai for two days of profound exchanges and fruitful discussions through various forums and matchmaking activities. Their collective expertise and insights contribute to the cooperation and development of the Greater Bay Area and ASEAN countries in crucial sectors such as finance, e-commerce, digital economy, and technological innovation.

Emphasizing the role of the China-ASEAN Centre as an inter-governmental international organization fostering pragmatic cooperation and cultural exchanges, Shi reaffirmed the commitment to actively support and facilitate the collaboration between the Greater Bay Area and ASEAN member countries. This sustained effort aims to strengthen the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership and ensure its continuous and sound development.

Wang expressed that the purpose of this forum is to establish an extensive and efficient platform for economic cooperation and exchanges between ASEAN and the Greater Bay Area to foster increased collaboration in key areas such as technology innovation, trade, and investment. He also emphasized that Shenzhen, acting as a pivotal point connecting China with ASEAN countries, will leverage the opportunities offered by RCEP and deepen comprehensive cooperation with ASEAN nations in trade, finance, smart cities, and new energy vehicles. This will facilitate economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges between the Greater Bay Area and ASEAN, contributing to the development of a prosperous homeland.

During the event, six diplomatic envoys and government representatives from Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines delivered compelling keynote speeches. They vowed to enhance international technology and industrial cooperation, leveraging the unique resource endowments of each country. Notably, representatives from the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, think tanks in the Philippines, and businesses in Indonesia spoke highly of Qianhai’s instrumental role in providing a broad market and ample investment opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and Qianhai for a shared brighter future.

1+4+N” Event Format

The event was organized in a matrix format, comprising of one main forum, four sub-forums and numerous parallel discussion and exchange sessions focusing on subdivided industries, independent regional cooperation, targeted topics, and specialized functions. This structure aims to cultivate innovative platforms, mechanisms, and business models that facilitate international exchanges and cooperation among non-governmental institutions, including chambers of commerce, think tanks, and businesses. The forum has placed its emphasis on fostering extensive people-to-people exchanges across a diverse range of topics.

The four sub-forums cover themes of regional cooperation, collaboration among think tanks, industrial cooperation, and dialogue with presidents of chambers of commerce and they hold great potential for stimulating discussions on various sub-sectors and more specific topics, including independent regional cooperation, subject matters, and professional functions for project implementation within a broader framework.

The “1+4+N” format is strategically designed to establish extensive, comprehensive, and rapid interconnections between China and ASEAN.

One Initiative, Two Alliances and Three Consensuses

During the forum, significant announcements were made, including the release of the ASEAN-Greater Bay Area Economic Cooperation Initiative and the establishment of the ASEAN-Greater Bay Area International Chamber of Commerce Alliance and the ASEAN-China Think Tank Cooperation Partnership.

These initiatives and alliances have laid out a comprehensive plan for organized, platform-based and focused cooperation between the Greater Bay Area and ASEAN in key areas such as technological innovation, industrial cooperation, talent exchange, and cultural interaction. This marks a crucial milestone in strengthening the ties and fostering mutual growth and development between these regions.

Furthermore, the forum resulted in three important consensuses: building confidence for closer partnership, forging platforms for exchange and cooperation, and turning intentions into actions. The participants of the forum expressed their unwavering confidence in the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, demonstrating their commitment to building a peaceful, secure, and prosperous region. Their shared goal is to create a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. Notably, the Greater Bay Area, including Qianhai and Shenzhen, has joined forces with ASEAN countries to launch the ASEAN-China Greater Bay Area Economic Cooperation (Qianhai) Forum, which serves as a flagship event for regional cooperation. This forum aims to facilitate the exchange of information, people, commodities, and capital across urban centers and regions, thereby promoting the integration of industrial, supply, and value chains between the Greater Bay Area and ASEAN.

This forum has achieved substantial and fruitful results. Six companies from chambers of commerce in the Greater Bay Area have reached investment cooperation agreements with ASEAN, with a total intended investment of RMB 3.5 billion yuan (US$489.5 million), contributing RMB 7 billion yuan to bilateral trade. Pragmatic cooperation has paved the way for future cooperation with win-win results.

Next, Qianhai will embrace the opportunity of hosting this forum to thoroughly implement the Plan for Comprehensive Deepening Reform and Opening Up of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone (Qianhai Plan), strive to build an open gateway, actively establish an economic cooperation dialogue platform, deepen industrial and investment cooperation, and promote the transformation of scientific and technological achievements, By doing so, Qianhai aims to play a more significant role in advancing economic and trade cooperation and fostering closer ties between the Greater Bay Area and ASEAN, contributing to the promotion of people-to-people connectivity.”

The forum was jointly organized by the ASEAN-China Centre, the Authority of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone, the ASEAN-Greater Bay Area Research Institute of Shenzhen University, and the Guangdong High-tech Industry Chamber of Commerce.

Other distinguished guests presented include Chang Lih Kang, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia, Arthayudh Srisamoot, Ambassador of Thailand to China, Pehin Dato Rahmani, Ambassador of Brunei to China, Nurul Ichwan, Deputy Minister for Investment Promotion of Republic of Indonesia, Nyunt Aung, Deputy Minister of Commerce, Myanmar, Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Undersecretary of Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, Dr. Vu Viet Anh, Consul General of Vietnam in Guangzhou, Loh Tuck Keat, Consul General of Singapore in Guangzhou, Prak Phannara, Counsellor of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in China, Khouanchay Iemsouthi, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the Lao PDR in China, as well as Guo Yile, Under-Secretary General of Guangdong Provincial People’s Government.

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