1. The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner met on 5 September 2004 in Jakarta, Indonesia. H.E. Ms. Rini M.S. Soewandi, Minister of Industry and Trade of Indonesia, and H.E. Mr. Pascal Lamy, European Union Trade Commissioner, co-chaired the Consultation.
ASEAN-EU TRADE AND INVESTMENT RELATIONS
2. The Ministers exchanged views on global economic developments and the progress made towards integration for ASEAN and EU. On ASEAN integration, ASEAN informed Commissioner Lamy of steps taken towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), including the integration of the 11 priority sectors and developments in ASEAN’s free trade areas/closer economic partnerships negotiations with China, Japan, India and Korea.
3. Commissioner Lamy briefed ASEAN Ministers on the historic achievement of the EU’s latest and largest enlargement to include 10 new members on 1 May 2004, the culmination of a long process of preparation and negotiation. With this enlargement, EU now represents a market of over 450 million people and a 9,739 billion euro combined economy. Commissioner Lamy also expressed the EC’s willingness to share its integration experience with ASEAN.
4. The Ministers noted the improving economic situation in ASEAN, particularly the rebound in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the region. FDI to ASEAN in 2003 increased 48% year-on-year to reach US$20.3 billion (approximately, 16.8 billion euro), with EU contributing 35% (US$7.1 billion or approximately, 5.9 billion euro) of total FDI in 2003. The Ministers noted that the bilateral ASEAN-EU trade in 2003 declined slightly by 3.3% to 104.7 billion euro compared to 2002, although EU-ASEAN trade for the first quarter of 2004 increased by 3.3%. They urged their senior officials to explore measures to promote and facilitate the trade and investment flows as there are still a lot of rooms for improvement.
TRANS-REGIONAL EU-ASEAN TRADE INITIATIVE (TREATI)
5. The Ministers noted the progress on measures toward the realization of the “Trans-regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative” (TREATI). The Ministers agreed that a number of TREATI activities supportive of four ASEAN priority sectors (Agriculture, Electronics, Fisheries and Wood-based products) should be prioritised. These include among others: Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures for agro-food and fisheries, as well as regulatory measures for wood-based products and electronics. On trade and investment facilitation, the Ministers agreed that the envisaged cooperation under TREATI should also be expedited. They tasked the senior officials to follow-up on these prioritised areas.
6. The Ministers were encouraged by the continued progress of existing co-operation schemes, such as the ASEAN Programme for Regional Integration Support (APRIS), the ASEAN-EC Co-operation Programme on Standards, Quality, and Conformity Assessment and the ASEAN-EC Intellectual Property Rights Co-operation Programme.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC ISSUES
7. The Ministers expressed continuing support for the early accession of Lao PDR and Viet Nam to the WTO. Reaffirming their commitment to the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA), the Ministers welcomed the decisions adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004, noting that the package of framework and other agreements on agriculture, market access for non-agriculture products, development issues, trade facilitation and services are crucial steps towards allowing for an ambitious and balanced outcome to the DDA. The Ministers underlined the importance of making further progress on the DDA by the WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005.
8. The Ministers noted with regret that two ministerial-level meetings, i.e. ASEM Finance Ministers and ASEM Economic Ministers meetings scheduled in 2004 have not been convened. Despite the above setbacks, the Ministers stressed the importance of a successful outcome from the forthcoming 5th ASEM Summit scheduled to be held in October 2004 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The theme of the Summit is “To Further Revitalising Asia-Europe Partnership and Sustaining Asia-Europe Partnership.”
LIST OF ASEAN ECONOMIC MINISTERS
The Meeting was attended by:
- Mr. Lim Jock Hoi, Director-General, Representing Minister, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
- H. E. Mr. Pascal Lamy, European Union Trade Commissioner;
- H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
- H.E. Ms. Rini M.S. Soewandi, Minister of Industry and Trade, Indonesia;
- H.E. Mr. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Commerce, Lao PDR;
- H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
- U Maung Maung Yi, Advisor, National AFTA Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar;
- H.E. Mr. Cesar V. Purisima, Secretary of Trade and Industry, Philippines;
- H.E. Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
- H.E. Mr. Watana Muangsook, Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
- H.E. Mr. Truong Dinh Tuyen, Minister of Trade, Viet Nam;
- H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN.