WTO Trade Agreements
On Tuesday, EU member states have shown positive approval to the Commission to pursue negotiations over free trade agreements (FTAs) with individual nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Among the nations, the Commission intends to begin its first negotiations with Singapore early in 2010. Among all the ASEAN nations, Singapore is EU´s chief trading partner with € 55 billion of bilateral trade.
EU Trade Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated in the following statement: "Creating new business opportunities for European companies in the dynamic ASEAN countries will strengthen the competitiveness of manufacturers, farmers and service providers in the EU. While we don't lose sight of our ultimate goal of achieving an agreement within a regional framework, I welcome today's decision which will allow us to move forward and re-engage with this important region through negotiations with individual ASEAN member states."
After US and China, the group of ASEAN nations is EU's 3rd largest trade partner outside Europe. Between 2004 and 2008 trade in goods and services between the EU and ASEAN has grown by more than a quarter, reaching € 175 billion in 2008.
To strengthen EU's commercial ties with the dynamic ASEAN region, it is expected that FTAs may lower or abolish the present existing tariff and non-tariff which is related to both regulatory and technical barriers to trade and investment in many ASEAN markets.
Creating new export opportunities in the ASEAN markets is a priority under the EU's Global Europe trade strategy.
Source: 7th Space