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ASEAN, Hubei Province Sign Agreement to Strengthen Cooperation

The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) signed a Minutes of Meeting on Strengthening of Trade and Economic Cooperation with central China's Hubei Province on Thursday, aiming at underscoring their commitment of implementing the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the two sides on May 11, 2008.

The Minutes were inked by the ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan and the visiting Hubei governor Li Hongzhong at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.

"In this period of global financial turmoil, China is expected to continue to be a strong contributor to global economic growth," said the Secretary-General Surin, adding that Hubei is one of the untapped regions in China that the ASEAN business community should look for opportunities in the market and diversify their export base.

"Hubei, which is China's 12th largest province, could consider undertaking more trade and investment missions to ASEAN countries," he added.

Hubei was the first Chinese province signing a Memorandum on Cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat, with an objective of exploring cooperation possibilities with the Central and Western provinces of China which can offer opportunities to deepen and widen ASEAN-China relations.

Li Hongzhong, the visiting provincial governor, said that Hubeiis full of enthusiasm and expectation on its cooperation with ASEAN countries. He also expected that the two sides would push forward the establishment of a Permanent ASEAN-China Forum on Economy and Trade in Wuhan city.

(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2008)

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