EU and ASEAN Mulling Relaunch of FTA Talks
The European Commission indicates in a March 10 press release that the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to take new steps towards resuming free trade talks between the two regions. The decision was made at the annual EU-ASEAN ministerial consultations that were held recently in Manila.
Negotiations on a bilateral FTA originally began in 2007 but differences in the level of economic development and openness between the ASEAN members subsequently led the EU to pursue the talks in separate settings with individual ASEAN members. So far, the EU has reached (but has not yet ratified) bilateral trade deals with Singapore and Vietnam and is pursuing negotiations with Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as an investment protection agreement with Myanmar. According to the Commission, EU and ASEAN countries will continue to advance these bilateral talks leading up to next year’s ministerial.