Ha Long, Viet Nam 27 April 2005
JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT
The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the Trade Commissioner of the European Union (EU) met in Ha Long, Viet Nam on 27 April 2005 for the 6th AEM-EU Consultation. The Consultation was co-chaired by H.E. Ms. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia, and H.E. Mr. Peter Benjamin Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner.
ECONOMIC SITUATIONS IN ASEAN AND EU
- 2.The Ministers exchanged views on global economic developments as well as progress on the economic integration initiatives in ASEAN and EU. The Chairman of the AEM gave a brief overview of developments in the ASEAN region. This includes the progress made in working towards the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) – ASEAN Single Market and Production Base, developments in the implementation of the 11 priority integration sectors, as well as the status of ASEAN’s FTA (free trade areas) and CEP (comprehensive economic partnership) negotiations with some Dialogue Partners like China, Japan, India, Korea, and Australia and New Zealand. The Minister also mentioned the importance that ASEAN attaches to greater private sector involvement and interaction in the regional economic integration
- 3.Commissioner Mandelson conveyed his thoughts on the economic integration process in ASEAN. He mentioned EU’s keeness to pursue the TREATI as they regard this as a long-term investment that would eventually lead to a deeper and broader level of cooperation in the future. He also gave an overview on some of the developments in EU integration, including steps taken to build on the single market that they currently
4. Commissioner Mandelson also briefed the ASEAN Ministers on the status of the new EU GSP. He mentioned however that because of some sensitivities, especially in the textiles sector, the process has been delayed. Along with the discussion on the new EU GSP are efforts to improve on the Rules of Origin for the EU GSP in order to make regional cumulation easier by lowering the threshold. Furthermore, there is currently a broader discussion on the general rules of origin and how to make them more development-friendly catering to the individual needs of developing countries. Commissioner Mandelson assured ASEAN that the new GSP would remain favourable to ASEAN.
TRANS-REGIONAL EU-ASEAN TRADE INITIATIVE (TREATI)
5. The Ministers discussed the implementation of the “Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative” (TREATI) and endorsed the activities planned for 2005. The Ministers, in particular welcomed the convening of the “High-Level Policy Dialogue on EU Economic Integration” in Brunei Darusalam in June 2005. The ASEAN Ministers conveyed to the EU Trade Commissioner the value of TREATI as a vehicle to develop a partnership for regional integration, establishing greater understanding between the two regions and acting as a framework to establish the direction and priorities for technical assistance and capacity-building. These are important components not only in integrating ASEAN Member Countries but also in fostering ASEAN-EU economic cooperation, which would pave the way towards a closer ASEAN-EU Economic Partnership. Consistent with this, the Ministers agreed on the need to intensify this partnership by starting to prepare together for a possible joint feasibility study to look into, among others, a potential ASEAN-EU FTA.
6. The Ministers agreed to have TREATI focus on policy dialogue and regulatory initiatives while other ASEAN-EU programmes would complement TREATI through provisions of technical assistance.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC ISSUES
7. The Ministers exchanged views on the latest developments in the WTO, particularly on how to successfully move forward the Doha Development Agenda. The Ministers also expressed continuing support for the early accession of Lao PDR and Viet Nam to the WTO.
8. The Ministers exchanged views on the current development in ASEM, particularly “the Sixth ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting” scheduled to be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands on 15 – 16 September 2005
The Meeting was attended by:
- 1.H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
- 2.H. E. Mr. Peter Benjamin Mandelson, European Union Trade Commissioner;
- 3.H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
- 4.H.E. Ms. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia;
- 5.H.E. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Commerce, Lao PDR;
- 6.Dato Sidek Hassan, Secretary General, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia (representing H.E. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry);
- 7.H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar;
- 8.H.E. Dr. Thomas G. Aquino, Senior Undersecretary of Trade and Industry, Philippines (representing H. E. Juan B. Santos, Secretary of Trade and Industry) ;
- 9.H.E. Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore;
- 10.H.E. Mr. Karun Kittisataporn, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand (representing Mr. Thanong Bdaya, Minister of Commerce);
- 11.H.E. Mr. Luong Van Tu, Vice Minister of Trade, Viet Nam (representing Mr. Truong Dinh Tuyen, Minister of Trade);
- 12.H.E. Pengiran Dato Mashor Pengiran Ahmad, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN (representing Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN).