Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines

EU Trade Commissioner Malmström visits Manila to discuss EU trade with ASEAN

08/03/2017 - 05:22

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is visiting Manila for the upcoming 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers - European Union Trade Consultations on 10 March. The Commissioner will meet with her counterparts from ASEAN to discuss EU ASEAN Trade Relations including the goal of a Free Trade Agreement between the two regions.

08 March 2017

Trade Commissioner Malmström will also address the ASEAN-EU Business Summit. This is the first big business event following Philippines' appointment to the ASEAN Chairmanship in September of last year. It coincides with the 60th anniversary of the EU, the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN and the 40th year of the ASEAN-EU relations.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr together with ASEAN Trade Ministers are expected to attend the Summit.  

"This meeting is an important occasion to reaffirm the strong ties between the EU and ASEAN and our joint commitment to good trade relations. At the meeting, we can lay the foundation to facilitate the work of our respective businesses, and for connecting across our two regions. I especially look forward to discussing how to advance plans for a region-to-region Free Trade Agreement between the EU and ASEAN. Many European companies have found their way to ASEAN, providing decent jobs and supporting growth. Especially the small and medium-sized companies are now looking at us, economic ministers, to facilitate their good work further," Commissioner Malmström said.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen described the visit as a milestone: Trade and investment relations between the regions are growing. In 2016, ASEAN-EU two-way trade stood at €208 billion. EU imports from ASEAN doubled since 2009 and EU-ASEAN trade in services in 2015 was €79.6 billion – three times as much as compared a decade ago. The EU is the largest external source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into ASEAN with € 23.3 billion in 2015 – a growth of 57% compared to the year before.

Second, Growth potential can be maximised through further engagement. "We do this mainly through negotiating Free Trade Agreements. The EU has concluded agreements with Vietnam and Singapore that will be game-changers as the most ambitious agreements that ASEAN members have ever concluded".  Meanwhile, the EU recently started negotiating with other members like Indonesia and the Philippines, while making clear that a region-to-region Free Trade Agreement is the goal in the longer term. "Establishing a region-to-region free trade area would act as a powerful catalyst for even closer mutually beneficial economic relationships. Our Ministers will now discuss the way forward when they meet in Manila", Ambassador Jessen said.

Third, EU support for ASEAN integration will be discussed, among others the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE), the EU-ASEAN Project on Intellectual Property Rights (ECAP III), and the ASEAN Air Transport Integration Project (AATIP). These cooperation programmes provide support to ASEAN economic integration and deliver concrete outputs, including the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR), the ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST) and ASEAN Stats.


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EU Trade relations with ASEAN