NANNING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday called for an "upgraded version" of the free trade area (FTA) between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), pledging economic and trade cooperation of "greater scope and higher quality."
Li made the comments during a keynote speech at the tenth China-ASEAN Expo, which runs from Tuesday to Friday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
China and ASEAN could discuss further lowering tariffs, cutting non-tariff measures, holding talks on a new round of service trade commitments, and promoting openness in the area of investment, Li said.
China is willing to sign long-term trade agreements with ASEAN members on agricultural products and expand imports from ASEAN, Li said, adding that China expects bilateral trade volume to hit 1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020.
Since association members will be a priority of China's peripheral diplomacy, they will also be the priority of the nation's outbound investment, said the premier.
Meanwhile, China is also willing to work with ASEAN to advance talks of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and discuss exchanges and interactions with frameworks including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, said the premier.
Li also called for further cooperation in areas of transportation, telecommunications and energy, as well as to enhance economic and financial cooperation between China and ASEAN.
Accelerated efforts should be made to carry out the construction of the Pan-Asia Railway network, according to the premier. China will also work with various sides to establish a financing platform in Asia to fund large-scale infrastructure projects, he said.
Furthermore, the country will work with ASEAN member countries to strengthen a multi-layered financial safety net and promote the application of a bilateral currency swap agreement, Li said.
China also encourages cross-border trade and domestic currency settlement in investment, and will facilitate investment into the Chinese bond market by ASEAN organizations, he said.
The premier also stressed maritime cooperation as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and the ASEAN during his speech.
Speaking of the economic situation in China, Li said the country has taken a systemic set of targeted measures of macro-economic control that are conducive to both current and long-term good.
Despite difficulties and challenges, Li said China has the capacity to accomplish the main tasks of social and economic development set for this year and have the determination to lay a sound foundation for next year's, future and long-term sustainable economic growth, citing recent upbeat data in employment, price, bumper harvest, industrial output, as well as foreign trade and investment.
China's development will bring more opportunities to the rest of world, with the ASEAN included, the premier said.
The China-ASEAN Expo was initiated in 2004. It is an important platform to promote bilateral trade and relationships between China and ASEAN.
A total of 4,600 booths, 1,294 of which are from ASEAN countries, will be open for business at this year's expo.