22 May 2015

EU-ASEAN Business Council welcomes Joint Communication on EU-ASEAN partnership

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have adopted the Joint Communication The EU and ASEAN: a partnership with a strategic purpose. The Joint Communication aims to boost EU-ASEAN relations, providing a clear framework for sectoral cooperation.

Key proposals and commitments in the Joint Communication include:

· Taking trade relations with ASEAN to a different level and working towards an ambitious region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) building on bilateral agreements between the EU and ASEAN member states;

· Stepping up cooperation on connectivity by exchanging lessons learned and by mobilising the financial means and expertise to support ASEAN efforts, including on the single market and through negotiating a civil aviation agreement;

· Strengthening collaboration on climate change and initiating a new, dedicated EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on environment and sustainable development;

· More than doubling EU financial support for ASEAN integration (to 170 million Euros) which comes on top of the 2 billion Euros for ASEAN member states;

· Implementing an extensive package of new initiatives in the area of non-traditional security (maritime security, disaster management and crisis response, transnational crime, training courses on preventive diplomacy, crisis management, mediation, the rule of law and election observation).

The Communication dovetails closely with EU-ASEAN Business Council’s policy priorities. EU-ASEAN Business Council Executive Director Chris Humphrey said: "This is testament to the importance of the ASEAN region as a key driver of the global economy. ASEAN and Europe are natural partners and are undertaking their own processes of economic integration. Europe is the largest investor into ASEAN, and is the region's second largest trading partner. This new commitment will build on the already strong trade and investment relationship. The EU-ABC looks forward to working closely with the European Commission to make the commitments in the Joint Communication a reality".