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ASEAN still views the EU as a partner in trade and investment: Marcos

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The European Union (EU) received assurances from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday (Brussels time) that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continues to value its “historic relevance” as a trading and investment partner.

In his closing remarks at the 10th ASEAN-EU Business Summit, Marcos stressed the necessity of an ASEAN-EU free trade agreement (FTA) while also giving economic cooperation initiatives first priority.

While the ASEAN-EU FTA remains a shared long-term goal, he told guests at the Sofitel Brussels Europe that measures for economic cooperation would be given priority in areas of shared interest in order to close the gap and achieve this long-term goal.

Recall that in 2007, both blocs started talking about a free trade agreement but ultimately decided on bilateral trade agreements.

He continued, “ASEAN will keep up the conversation with the EU on ongoing economic competitiveness and competition activities.

Marcos also underlined the significance of government and private sector cooperation in promoting post-pandemic economic growth.

Especially given that the ASEAN Member States are in a post-pandemic economic recovery (period) and are confronting new problems brought on by recent geopolitical tensions, he said, “it is crucial that our governments continue to engage with the private sector.”

The President highlighted the “pivotal role” played by the ASEAN-EU Business Council in boosting ASEAN’s post-pandemic economic recovery and regional economic integration through its numerous initiatives.

“We hope to continue this momentum for 2023 and forward,” he said. “This Business Council has aided ASEAN’s regional economic integration through the (ASEAN-EU Trade) and Investment Work Programme.”

He said that the summit’s deliberations would not only give both blocs fresh motivation to promote sustainable trade and investment but also reveal methods to hasten the implementation of the EU Indo-Pacific Strategy.

He also expressed his gratitude to the ASEAN-EU Business Council for its ongoing engagement and support of ASEAN, from sectoral organizations all the way up to the Leaders forum.

He praised the ASEAN’s enhanced influence on the world arena as a result of initiatives for supply chain resilience and regional economic integration.

“The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership’s (RCEP) entry into force, the continuous assessment of pre-existing trade accords, and ASEAN’s attempts to ease the trade of basic products indicate the region’s push to maintain an open, free, and fair trade,” Marcos added.

He claimed that ASEAN is “well-positioned to accelerate intra-regional commerce and profit” because its members are participating in major trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Since 2021, the Philippines has served as the ASEAN-EU country coordinator, and it will continue to do so through 2024.

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