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ASEAN, EU to enhance bilateral cooperation

ASEAN and the EU confirmed their commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation at the 22nd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting on in Brussels. Both agreed to harness cooperation in shared fields of interest and concern like economy, trade, investment, connectivity, climate change, counter terrorism, cyber security, sustainable development, maritime security and trans-national crime prevention, at the meeting.

On the basis of bilateral deals between EU and ASEAN countries, both sides agreed to step up efforts towards ASEAN-EU free trade agreement. They also reached a consensus of upgrading ASEAN-EU strategic partnerships based on relations and adopted a statement satisfying both sides during the meeting. The ministers also exchanged views on complex and unpredictable developments on global economic and political situations. They agreed to continuously coordinate in the promotion of multilateral, open, fair and rule based trade systems, while working closely on resolving challenges, enhance dialogue, prevent conflicts and build trust.

The European Union is the second biggest partner in trade for ASEAN with the bilateral trade reaching $261 billion in 2017, up 11.9 percent from previous year. It is also one of the largest sources of FDI to ASEAN with its direct investment hitting $25.4 billion in 2017, which accounts for 18.6 per cent of the total FDI in the ASEAN region.