Nanning, China (ANTARA News) - Trade between ASEAN and China is likely to hit a record-high of US$500 billion in 2015, according to an Indonesian trade official.

"ASEAN-China trade value reached US$318.6 billion last year, up 13.6 percent from the 2011 figure of US$280.4 billion. If the trade value continues to increase at this rate, it will hit an all-time high of US$500 billion in 2015," said Gusmardi Bustami, Director General of National Export Development, here on Wednesday.

Heading the Indonesian delegation to China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) here, Gusmardi noted that total investment between ASEAN and China has grown at an even faster pace, almost touching US$100 billion by July 2013.

"This boom in trade and investment has been driven by the private sectors in ASEAN and China," he said.

Gusmardi also pointed out that trade between Indonesia and China grew by 21.4 percent over the past five years.

"China is now Indonesia`s largest trade partner. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$50 billion in 2012, accounting for 25 percent of Indonesia`s total foreign trade that year," he said.

Although there has been a substantial increase in trade between Indonesia and China under the framework of ASEAN China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), Gusmardi continued, both sides must further boost their bilateral trade with a view to reduce Indonesia`s trade deficit with China.

CAEXPO is an annual world-class exhibition, held side by side with China-ASEAN Summit, with the objective of improving relations in the trade, investment, and service sectors.

CAEXPO was held for the first time in 2004, after an agreement to that effect was signed at the 7th China-ASEAN Summit held in the Indonesian tourist island of Bali in October 2003.

As many as 97 Indonesian companies, mostly from the food and beverage, furniture and handicraft, jewelry and accessories, and consumer goods industries, are participating in the expo.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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