At the new phase of economic development after the financial crisis, science and technology are playing an increasingly important role in underpinning growth, drawing the attention of countries across the world. Elements of innovation are rapidly mobilized around the world, making innovation a symbol of the new round of globalization. Meanwhile, the global economy's center of gravity is shifting East. With rapid economic growth and social stability, East Asia has become the most dynamic region in the world, which is attributable to the important contributions of China and ASEAN.
China and ASEAN are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. The establishment of China-ASEAN Dialogue in 1991 inaugurated the new development of China-ASEAN relations. The two sides established Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in 2003. In January 2010, the establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) was completed. China has become the largest trade partner for ASEAN with ASEAN as the third largest trade partner for China. Over the past two decades, China and ASEAN enjoyed good-neighborly relations and mutually-beneficial cooperation. Today, the two sides are engaged in unprecedented high-level exchanges and cooperation in wide-ranging areas, forming a community of common destiny with a common stake.
As developing countries in the same region, China and ASEAN members are shouldering the common task of developing economy and improving social wellbeing, facing common challenges like addressing climate change, and recognizing the driving role of scientific and technological innovation in socioeconomic progress. In 1994, ASEAN-China Joint Science and Technology Committee (ACJSTC) was established, which has since facilitated the implementation of over 1000 intergovernmental projects in areas such as agriculture, biology, food, energy, traditional medicine, medical care, remote sensing, earthquake and oceanography. Science and technology cooperation has become important ties between Chinese organizations and their ASEAN counterparts, a mirror of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
The past two decades have witnessed remarkable economic growth and scientific advancement in China and ASEAN, which are more and more complementary to each other, especially in non-governmental cooperation. China has accumulated rich experience in developing high-tech industries and improving people's wellbeing, offering valuable examples to ASEAN member states. Meanwhile, China could also learn from the successful practices of her ASEAN friends in underpinning growth through science and technology. In the context of innovation globalization, China-ASEAN cooperation in science and technology has become a trend of the times, entering the fast lane towards a booming era.
In this context, to follow up on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's proposal at the 14th China-ASEAN Summit and the 20th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue on November 19, 2011, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China has decided to launch the China-ASEAN Science and Technology Partnership Program (hereinafter referred to as "China-ASEAN STEP" or "the Program"), to deepen cooperation between China and ASEAN in science, technology and sustainable development. Through the Program, China is willing to establish a new type of practical, efficient and robust S&T partnership with ASEAN member states, sharing experience, tapping cooperation potential, and giving full play to science and technology in driving socio-economic progress and sustainable growth in the region.
The Program serves the purposes of sharing of experience in science and technology development and increasing science and technology capacity of countries within the region through cooperation in science, technology and innovation between China and ASEAN member states, by means of which the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region will be accelerated and active collaboration and mutual assistance will be promoted for synergies of China and ASEAN in science and technology. With closer ties in the field of science and technology, China and ASEAN will jointly embrace scientific and economic globalization, contribute more to the realization of Millennium Development Goals, and benefit our peoples.
Equality and mutual benefits
On the basis of mutual respect, China and ASEAN member states shall share research findings and experience in developing science and technology, set up cooperation networks in innovation and speed up the integration of ASEAN through the cooperation in science and technology.
China will give full consideration to the demands of ASEAN member states in their national development of science and technology and integrate resources for all-round cooperation.
Aim at enhancing the scientific capability of ASEAN member states, China will be engaged in improving the overall level of science and technology development of ASEAN member states and giving full play to the supporting role of science, technology and innovation on economic growth, livelihood improvement and sustainable development.
Under the leading role of the government, non-governmental resources shall be drawn in to contribute to the science and technology cooperation between China and ASEAN, with enterprises encouraged as vigours partners in the cooperation. The models and mechanism of collaboration could be explored in practices to expand the cooperation.
IV. Priority areas
In consistence with the national science and technology development planning and priorities, cooperation shall be carried out in areas of common interests of ASEAN member states and China.
i. Science and technology policies and innovation management
1. Formulation of national science and technology strategies
2. Stipulation and management of major science and technology programs
3. Planning of science and technology development in key industries
4. Planning of setting up science parks and incubators
5. Policies in support of innovation, business start-up and synergy of enterprises, universities and research institutes.
6. Science and technology statistics and evaluation
ii. Priority areas of technology:
1. Agriculture: crop breeding and cultivation, agro-product processing, agricultural mechanization, and soil improvement.
2. Food: food safety, food standards and inspections, and food processing.
3. Life science and health: biomedicine, natural plant pharmaceuticals, remote medical treatment and medical instruments.
4. Disaster mitigation and prevention: early warning and responses to earthquakes, tsunamis, and land slides.
5. Water resources: management of water resources, water sanitation and recycling, and water conservation.
6. Environment and energy: environmental protection, bio-diversity, climate change, meteorology, development and utilization of conventional, new and renewable energies, industrial energy saving, energy-efficient building, and urban energy efficiency.
7. Equipment manufacturing: CNC machine tools, rail transportation, computer integrated manufacturing systems, engineering machinery, and port machinery.
8. Materials: nano-materials, functional materials, biomaterials, biomedical materials and environmental materials.
9. Information technology: communication, Internet, integrated circuit, multimedia application, embedded systems, robotic technology, open source systems, and security monitoring systems.
10. Space technology and application: remote sensing, navigation, geographical information, communication and satellite technology, and small satellites.
V. Modalities of cooperation
i. Policy consultancy
Joint research on formulation and implementation of national science and technology planning and policies shall be encouraged between related agencies from China and ASEAN. Chinese experts in the field of science and technology management shall be supported to provide policy consultancy to ASEAN and its member states on science, technology and innovation.
ii. Technical services
Enterprises, research institutes, scientists and engineers from China shall be encouraged to provide technical guidance and services to meet ASEAN's demands through initiatives of Technical Task Force (TTF) and technology volunteers.
iii. Human resources development
A number of China-ASEAN training centers shall be established to organize training programs on various fields of applicable technologies, provide training on science and technology policy and management, and fund ASEAN scientists and engineers to study and conduct joint research in China.
iv. Joint research
Enterprises, research institutes and universities from China and ASEAN shall be supported in joint research, development, commercialization and localization of key technologies, as well as formulation of national and regional technology standards.
v. Joint laboratories (joint research centers)
Joint laboratories or joint research centers shall be supported to be set up between Chinese enterprises, research institutes and universities and their ASEAN partners in priority areas, by means of which public technology platforms and mechanism for long-term and stable personnel exchanges and cooperation will be established.
vi. Joint science parks and demonstration zones
Joint science parks shall be supported to be set up between Chinese enterprises and science parks and their ASEAN partners. By means of the establishment of China-ASEAN Science and Technology Demonstration Zones, demonstration, application and dissemination of Chinese advanced applicable technologies will be promoted.
vii. Technology transfer
China-ASEAN Technology Transfer Center shall be established to provide platforms for information sharing, resource matchmaking and other related services so as to encourage collaboration between Chinese and ASEAN enterprises and science parks. China-ASEAN Science and Technology Forum shall be organized to provide platforms for business-to-business exchanges and cooperation.
VI. Organization and management
i. MOST of China together with ASEAN COST and governmental departments of science and technology of ASEAN member states shall play the role of facilitators of the Program. ACJSTC will facilitate and coordinate the implementation of the Program. The bilateral mechanisms of cooperation between MOST of China and its counterparts in ASEAN member states will be improved to guarantee the successful implementation of bilateral projects under the framework of the Program.
ii. A Secretariat of the Program will be established to take charge of the daily management and facilitate the implementation of the Program. In case of necessity, working groups on policy consultancy, technology service, human resources development and technology transfer will be set up for facilitation of specific projects .
iii. The Program will be mainly funded by Chinese government with contributions from non-governmental sectors. ASEAN partner country will provide necessary human resource, equipment and funding for the implementation of joint projects.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cistc.com/China-ASEAN/English/