Despite the prevailing financial crisis in the European region, the trade between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) continued to grow in the past years, a joint statement from the ASEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultation said on Monday.
In 2010, trade between the two countries grew by 21.5 percent, amounting to about $208 billion.Economic ministers from member-countries of the two organizations said that EU continued to be Asean’s second largest trading partner and the biggest source of investment flow.
“The ministers exchanged views on the current economic environment in the EU and noted the latest developments in Asean, in particular, the initiatives towards realizing the Asean Economic Community [AEC] by 2015,” the statement said.
“The EU Trade Commissioner welcomed the continuing progress in Asean’s regional economic integration process and encouraged Asean in its efforts in driving the economic integration in East Asia,” it added.
Because of the growing economic relations between EU and Asean, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen trade and investment ties by endorsing activities under the Asean-EU Trade and Investment Work Program.
The program aims to enhance economic cooperation, as well as address emerging challenges and opportunities for enhanced trade and investment between EU and Asean.
The ministers also highlighted the importance of the World Trade organization (WTO) as “a strong multilateral trading system, which has been successful in promoting free trade.”
They reiterated their commitment to WTO’s “stable, transparent, and rules-based system and emphasized, as a priority, the need to ensure. –Bernice Camille V. Bauzon, Manila Times
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