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1. The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the EU Trade Commissioner held their Twelfth Consultations on 8 March 2013 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The 12th AEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations were co-chaired by H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam, and H.E. Karel De Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner.
2. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner exchanged views on current developments in their respective regions and noted that trade and investment between ASEAN and the EU continued to expand despite the world economic slowdown. Trade between ASEAN and the EU grew by 12.6%, amounting to US$234.8 billion in 2011. Meanwhile, foreign direct investment flow from the EU into ASEAN increased by 7.2% totalling US$18.2 billion. In 2012, the EU was ASEAN’s third largest trading partner and continues to be ASEAN’s biggest source of foreign direct investment.
3. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner underscored their continued support and commitment to a stable, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system and to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner agreed to work together to move the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations forward with a view to reaching agreement on a focused set of issues, including Trade Facilitation, at the 9th Ministerial Conference later this year in Bali, Indonesia. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner congratulated Lao PDR on its accession to the WTO. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner expressed their utmost appreciation for the hard work and commitment of His Excellency Pascal Lamy during his tenure as the WTO Director-General. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner noted ASEAN’s candidature of Her Excellency Mari Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries of the Republic of Indonesia, as well as former Minister of Trade and 2011 Chair of the AEM, as the next WTO Director-General.
4. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner exchanged views on regional and international issues particularly those significant to regional economic integration in ASEAN and EU, and noted the progress of the bilateral free trade agreement negotiations and discussions between individual ASEAN Member State and the EU. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation between the two regions including the possibility of resuming negotiations of an ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement, upon realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015.
5. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner exchanged views on how to enhance ASEAN-EU investment relations. In particular they shared updated information on their investment policies as well as on on-going initiatives in terms of their investment agreements’ negotiations. Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner stressed the importance of increased flow of investment both ways to create jobs and stimulate the economy of both regions.
6. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner welcomed the third ASEAN-EU Business Summit held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam at the sidelines of the AEM-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations. The Business Summit, which has been organised annually since 2011, continued to attract many business people from both regions and provide the opportunity for public-private sector dialogue. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner expressed hope that the event would generate more business opportunities and expand economic cooperation between the two regions.
7. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen trade and investment between ASEAN and the EU, and endorsed the ASEAN-EU Trade and Investment Work Programme for 2013-2014. The Work Programme aims at improving two-way trade relations and investment between ASEAN and the EU as well as supporting broader integration within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and the EU.
8. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner were pleased to note the status of the implementation of the various ASEAN-EU economic cooperation programmes in support of ASEAN’s economic integration, institutional capacity-building, statistics, ASEAN’s FTA negotiating capacity, intellectual property rights and air transport. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner welcomed the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) project which is aimed at supporting the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by enhancing the capacities of ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner agreed that the experience drawn from the EU’s economic integration would substantially benefit ASEAN.
9. The Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner welcomed H.E. Le Luong Minh, as new Secretary-General of ASEAN and wished him a successful term.
LIST OF MINISTERS AND THE EU TRADE COMMISSIONER
(i) H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam;
(ii) H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
(iii) H.E. Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade;
(iv) Mr. Iman Pambagyo, Director-General of Ministry of Trade and Industry, Indonesia (representing H.E. Gita Wirjawan, Minister of Trade of Indonesia);
(v) H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR;
(vi) Datuk Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Secretary Genereral, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia (representing H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia);
(vii) H.E. Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar;
(viii) H.E. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines;
(ix) H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
(x) H.E. Boonsong Teriyapirom, Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
(xi) H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam; and
(xii) H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN.