DANANG, Vietnam, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations surged with the opening of a free-trade agreement, a Chinese official said.
Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said trade between China and the members of ASEAN jumped 49.6 percent January through July to $161 billion. The first of the year was the effective start date to the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the China Daily reported Friday.
ASEAN nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The agreement has given trade a boost that favors the ASEAN group, China's fourth-largest trading partner, which has come away with a $7.54 billion surplus this year.
Chen released the figures at the ninth China-ASEAN economic ministers meeting, held in Danang, Vietnam.