Jakarta (ANTARA) - ASEAN, under Indonesia’s chairmanship, and China emphasized the need for enhanced digital cooperation, particularly in the field of e-commerce on Monday.

ASEAN economic ministers met with a Chinese delegation during the 22nd ASEAN Economic Ministers-Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Consultation of the People’s Republic of China in Semarang, Central Java, on Monday.

The consultation was co-chaired by Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Li Fei.

The meeting endorsed the "ASEAN-China Initiative on Enhancing Cooperation on E-Commerce," aiming to promote closer enterprise cooperation, jointly conduct capacity-building activities, and foster cross-border e-commerce, as per a joint media statement released on Monday.

Both sides also supported MOFCOM’s proposal to jointly conduct "ASEAN-China Exchanges on Laws and Regulations related to Trade and Economic Cooperation".

This proposal could further facilitate the implementation of the important consensus reached by the leaders of ASEAN and China on advancing trade and economic cooperation by enhancing communication and understanding between both sides regarding trade and economic legal systems, the statement said.

The meeting also reaffirmed both sides' commitment to fully and effectively implement the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreements.

The leaders of China and the 10 ASEAN member states signed a Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (ACFTA) at the sixth China-ASEAN Summit in November 2002. There are three agreements under ACFTA, covering the free flow of goods, services, and investments.

According to ASEAN Statistics, the total merchandise trade between ASEAN and China reached US$722 billion in 2022.

China has been ASEAN’s largest trading partner since 2009, and ASEAN has been China's largest trading partner for three consecutive years since 2020. In 2022, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from China to ASEAN amounted to US$15.3 billion.

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