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ASEAN, EU countries are keen to resume free trade talks

ASEAN, EU countries are keen to resume free trade talksSoutheast Asian economies and the European Union pledged to work toward resuming stalled free trade agreement talks and counter a trend toward protectionism.

During the joint press conference of the 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations on Friday, Philippine Trade Secretary and AEM Chairman Ramon Lopez said the two parties had discussed future steps to re-launch the FTA discussions.

“In order to reinforce the momentum, the AEM and EU Trade Commissioner tasked the Senior Economic Officials to develop a framework encompassing the parameters of a future ASEAN-EU FTA, and to report back to the next AEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations,” Lopez said.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told reporters Friday after consultations with economic ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that closing borders, building walls and raising tariffs will not solve miseries that are often blamed on free trade.

Malmström reaffirmed EU’s commitment to enhance trade and investment cooperation with the ASEAN.

She noted that the relation between the two regions is “vibrant, good, and developing”.

“From the European Union, we are very committed to strengthening and developing our EU-ASEAN relations,” the visiting EU trade commissioner said.
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