JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT
1. The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner met on 20 January 2004 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce of Cambodia, 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 the global economic situation and recent developments in the economic integration processes in ASEAN and EU. ASEAN informed Commissioner Lamy of the latest developments in ASEAN economic integration, especially the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the status of free trade areas/closer economic partnerships negotiations of ASEAN with China, Japan and India.
3. Commissioner Lamy welcomed the decision of ASEAN to embark on the AEC and expressed the EC’s willingness to share its integration experience with ASEAN. Commissioner Lamy also briefed the ASEAN members on the future enlargement of the European Union. He highlighted some of the positive effects of the enlargement on the EU’s commercial policy, indicating that having an expanded single market sharing the same tariffs and trade rules in May 2004 would allow ASEAN exporters who already meet current EU standards to have immediate access to an even larger market. There would be a lower average level of tariffs and expanded quotas, as well as the extension of the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP scheme) by the new countries. It was emphasised that any potential trade or investment diversion or creation effect should already have substantially taken place over the past few years in the run-up to the enlargement.
4. The Ministers noted a positive sign of recovery in trade between the two regions. In 2002, the decline recorded 1.99% compared to 3.4% in 2001; for the first half of 2003, the total trade between ASEAN and EU was valued at US$ 35.7 billion, representing an increase of 7.6% compared to the same period of 2002. The Ministers recognised that there is still much potential for the two regions to intensify economic cooperation and improve trade and investment relations.
TRANS-REGIONAL EU-ASEAN TRADE INITIATIVE (TREATI)
5. The Ministers discussed measures toward the realization of the “Trans-regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative” (TREATI) in order to expand the trade and investment flows between the two regions. They noted the roadmap for the implementation of the TREATI and the work plan for 2004, which include the key priority areas such as trade facilitation and promotion, investment, technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, customs and tourism.
6. The Ministers agreed that the SEOM-EU Consultations shall be the main instrument to coordinate the implementation of the TREATI. They tasked their senior officials to expedite the work and report the progress of the TREATI implementation at the next AEM-EU Consultation.
7. The Ministers also noted with satisfaction the 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. The Ministers agreed that in addressing trade and investment issues, these programmes should be co-ordinated through the TREATI in the future to complement the efforts not only for ASEAN economic integration, but also for the successful implementation of the TREATI.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC ISSUES
8. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the successful conclusion of the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and agreed to work for an ambitious and balanced outcome to the DDA, reiterating that the development dimension is at its core. The Ministers agreed that the Doha Declaration should remain the reference for the overall level of ambition in these negotiations.
9. The Ministers agreed that flexibility and political will are urgently needed by all WTO Members to move the negotiations toward a successful conclusion. They further agreed that action taken at the regional and bilateral levels should complement and reinforce multilateral trade relations. They stressed the importance of determining in the coming weeks the negotiating modalities for a number of DDA issues so that negotiations could enter into decisive phase in 2004.
10. The Meeting welcomed the accession of Cambodia to the WTO. The Ministers encouragingly acknowledged that Viet Nam has achieved significant progress in her process of accession to the WTO. The Ministers reiterated their continued support for the early accession of Lao PDR and Viet Nam to the WTO.
11. The Ministers also welcomed the developments in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). They agreed to lend their support for the successful conclusion of the Sixth ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting in Rotterdam, Netherlands on 16-17 September 2004 and the Fifth ASEM Summit to be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 7-8 October 2004.
List of Ministers
i) H. E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
ii) H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
iii) H. E. Mr. Pascal Lamy, European Union Trade Commissioner;
iv) H. E. Ms. Rini M. S. Soewandi, Minister of Industry and Trade, Indonesia;
v) H. E. Mr. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Commerce, Lao PDR;
vi) H. E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
vii) H.E. U Kyaw Thu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar
viii) H. E. Mr. Cesar A.V. Purisima, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines;
ix) H. E. Brigadier General (NS) George Yeo, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
x) H. E. Mr. Watana Muangsook , Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
xi) H. E. Mr. Truong Dinh Tuyen, Minister of Trade, Viet Nam; and
xii) H. E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN.