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Speech by Sy Ching Tam
2010-12-10 16:26:00


7th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit – Business Leaders Forum “Roles Chambers can Assume in the Process of Implementing the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA)”
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. 
It is an honor and privilege for the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. to be part of the 7th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. 
We extend our sincere gratitude to the organizers, the Ministry of Commerce of China, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, People's Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Secretariat for inviting us to be part of this timely and relevant forum. 
ASEAN-China Partnership
In today's globalized economy, we need to work together to strengthen each economy in the Region. ASEAN is in a key position – geographically and economically – to facilitate greater cooperation and push for initiatives that will foster regional prosperity. 
ASEAN countries have increasingly been exploring China, our close neighbor, as an immense source of investments.  China's open economy has been an important market for ASEAN. 
China has overtaken the U.S. to become ASEAN's third largest trading partner.  And it is expected to emerge as ASEAN's number one trading partner in the next three to five years. 
We are positive about China's rapid economic growth. With China's growing influence, we look at it not as a competitor but as our partner in development. 
China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement
This year marks the start of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement or CAFTA, an initiative taken by ASEAN countries and China to achieve further growth in the region, paving the way for a more stable and stronger East Asia economy. 
CAFTA presents opportunities for China and ASEAN to work together toward increasing economic efficiency, creating greater prospects for business, and establishing a good climate for trade and investment.
Over the years, bilateral trade between ASEAN and China has increased rapidly. Intra-regional trade in the region has been expanding at 20 percent annually. And with the formation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, we are confident that this will continue to surge steadily.
Chambers' Roles in CAFTA Implementation
In the midst of these developments, it is inevitable for chambers of commerce and trade associations of ASEAN and China to be actively involved in the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. 
To achieve this, chambers of commerce can harness cooperation among its membership, with the government, and chambers of commerce of China and ASEAN. 
By harnessing cooperation among its membership, the chambers of commerce can:
effectively promote China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation;
promote the improvement of local industries' competitiveness to make them globally competitive; and work toward synergy in regional and international market.
Secondly, by harnessing cooperation with the government, the chambers can promote effective public-private-sector coordination to ensure that businesses are:
able to take advantage of the opportunities created by CAFTA;
properly informed of the country's tariff liberalization commitments; and
given the opportunity to present their concerns to the government. 
And finally, by harnessing cooperation with ASEAN and China chambers of commerce, the chambers can:
establish contacts and enhance communication between its membership and chambers of commerce in ASEAN countries and China;
facilitate stronger regional business partnerships;
participate in regional events and forum such as the China-ASEAN Business & Investment Summit, and expositions like the China-ASEAN Expo; and
strengthen partnership through business delegations, trade missions, and exchange of information in various fields and industries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As members of the Philippine Business Delegation, our Federation is here today to express our earnest desire to join hands with our ASEAN neighbors and with China with the sincere hope that our solidarity will improve the lives of our peoples. 
We are steadfast in strengthening our solid partnership to foster a healthy atmosphere of economic and commercial relations between the Philippines, China and ASEAN nations.
Let us join hands in enhancing our regional competitiveness to achieve prosperity and development for our people.
Thank you very much.
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