Over the past decade, trade and investment between ASEAN member states and China has increased significantly under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (ACFTA). The Convention on Trade in Goods was signed in 2004 and implemented by all Member States in July 2005. As part of the agreement, the six asean and Chinese members decided to eliminate tariffs on 90% of their products by 2010, while Cambodia, PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, commonly known as CLMV countries, had until 2015 to do so. Since the signing of the agreement, China has maintained its position as ASEAN`s largest trading partner. In 2015, ASEAN`s total merchandise trade with China amounted to $346.5 billion, or 15.2% of ASEAN`s total trade. In addition, ASEAN received $8.2 billion in FDI from China in 2015, making it the fourth largest source of foreign direct investment for ASEAN. By 2020, ASEAN and China have committed to a common goal of $1 trillion in trade and $150 billion in investment through ACFTA. In addition to the China-India free trade agreement, ASEAN also has a combined free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand, known as AANZFTA. The agreement, which will also be phased in, has eliminated tariffs on 67% of all products traded between regions and will be extended to 96% of all products by 2020. This is the first time ASEAN has entered into negotiations on a free trade agreement covering all sectors, including goods, services, investment and intellectual property rights, making it the most comprehensive trade agreement ever negotiated by ASEAN. For more details on this agreement, click here. Efforts to close the development gap and expand trade among ASEAN members are essential elements of the political debate. According to a 2008 research mandate published by the World Bank as part of its "Trade Costs and Relief" project, ASEAN members have the potential to reap significant benefits from investment in new trade facilitation reforms, as a result of the important customs reform already implemented by the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.
The AFTA agreement was signed in Singapore on 28 January 1992. When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined the country in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999. The AFTA now includes the ten ASEAN countries. The four laggards had to sign the AFTA agreement for ASEAN membership, but were given longer delays in complying with THE AFTA tariff reduction obligations. Integration in Singapore is fast and simple - it is consistently the first to position itself in the World Bank`s global business rankings, while the city-state uses a high level of international standards in its laws and compliance. Singapore also offers a low corporate tax base of 17% and offers tax incentives to all SMEs, including foreign investors. As a result, some 7,0000 MNC companies have already begun operations in Singapore - only to examine what ASEAN has to offer, the adequacy of its various Member States to the creation of subsidiaries and the creation of ASEAN as a production base from which they can reach the domestic markets of China, India and beyond. In addition to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) between ASEAN countries, the regional trade bloc has signed several free trade agreements with some of the major economies in the Asia-Pacific region. These include the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA), the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP). The aim of these free trade agreements is to encourage and encourage businesses of all sizes in ASEAN to trade