1. The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the European Trade Commissioner held their consultations on 6 October 2000 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Consultations was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand and H.E. Mr. Pascal Lamy, European Trade Commissioner.
ASEAN-EU TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS
2. The Ministers exchanged views about recent developments in ASEAN and EU. The Ministers noted the sustained economic recovery in the ASEAN region with both Gross Domestic Product and exports growing strongly. The Ministers further noted that ASEAN-EU trade had grown to US $ 89.9 billion in 1999 and that investments from EU had reached US $ 4.1 billion in 1998. ASEAN informed Mr. Lamy on the latest decisions regarding the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) and the e-ASEAN initiative. The Ministers also noted the continued economic growth in the EU and Mr. Lamy informed ASEAN about recent developments regarding the Euro and EU enlargement.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC ISSUES
3. The Ministers exchanged views on international and regional economic issues of concern, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the transatlantic US-EU discussions. The Ministers agreed on the importance of accelerating the WTO accession process for Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam. The Ministers supported the launch, at the earliest opportunity, of a new round of WTO trade negotiations and agreed on the need for a broad and balanced agenda reflecting the interests of all WTO members, particularly developing countries. The Ministers also discussed their expectations of ASEM III in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Mr. Lamy informed ASEAN of recent developments in EU-US trade discussions, particularly regarding trade disputes.
NEED FOR INTENSIFIED ASEAN-EU ECONOMIC COOPERATION
4. While trade and investment ties between the two regions were strong, the Ministers agreed on the urgency of intensifying ASEAN-EU economic cooperation. They noted that it would be desirable that this message be repeated on the occasion of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR in December.
5. The Ministers agreed that early implementation of the ASEAN-EU regional programmes in intellectual property and standards and conformity assessment was important. They noted that a regular dialogue between ASEAN and European Commission (EC) senior officials on multilateral trade and market access issues had been started this year. They agreed that this represented an important forum for discussing inter-regional economic issues and furthering greater policy dialogue. Finally, they recognised the need to broaden the scope of the ongoing dialogue to address a range of economic issues.
LIST OF MINISTERS
The Meeting was attended by:
- H.E. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
- H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
- H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
- H.E. Mr. Pascal Lamy, EU Trade Commissioner;
- H.E. Mr. Luhut Pandjaitan, Minister of Industry and Trade, Indonesia;
- H.E. Soulivong Daravong, Minister, Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, Lao PDR;
- H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
- H.E. Brigadier General David O. Abel, Minister at the Office of the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Myanmar;
- H.E. Mr. Manuel Roxas II, Secretary of Trade and Industry, Philippines;
- H.E. B.G. (NS) George Yeo, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
- H.E. Mr. Vu Khoan, Minister of Trade, Viet Nam; and
- H.E. Mr. Rodolfo C. Severino, Jr., Secretary-General of ASEAN.