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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
China and Asean discuss free trade

Senior officials from China and the Association of South East Asian Nations ASEAN have started the first round of talks on setting up a free trade zone they hope could eventually cover a third of the world's population.

The negotiations in Beijing, scheduled to last three days, will start hammering out details of the free trade zone, which the two sides vowed in November to establish within the next decade.

As the talks opened, the Chinese Vice Trade Minister, Long Yougtu, warning that negotiations could be long and rocky.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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