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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

EU Trade Commissioner announces feasibility study for EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement


News EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson announced that the EU and ASEAN have agreed to set up a “vision group” to assess the feasibility of an EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

He called for Europe to renew and consolidate the scope of its relations with Asia to reflect the region’s dramatic changes. He said that Europe should see “the renaissance of Asia” not as a threat but an opportunity and a stimulus for European competitiveness. While stressing that bilateral links with Asia should not be an alternative to the EU’s priority of multilateral trade opening, Commissioner Mandelson said that closer regional ties could further deepen co-operation. He announced that he had agreed with his ASEAN counterparts to set up a political level “vision group” to study the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and ASEAN. In the speech, entitled “Tilting the global balance: Asia’s new trade growth” Commissioner Mandelson argued that Europe must deepen and consolidate its economic links with the Asian region, both through co-operating on the Doha Round and by developing stronger bilateral links to improve market access and strengthen rules on counterfeiting and the protection of intellectual property. Europe’s trading relationship with China has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. Today four of Europe’s top ten trading partners are in Asia: China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Imports to the EU from ASEAN countries are growing by 10% per year.

Source :  DG Trade


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