ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEM 2014 in Milan to come up with more FTA's between EU-ASEAN
The 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit from Oct 16-17 in Milan, Italy, is expected to come up with more Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the European Union (EU) and Asean countries, especially Malaysia, in the financial sector.
The Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Malaysia, Luc Vandebon, said trade opportunities have been increasing between the EU and Asean, due to liberalisation policies and would advance even further with FTAs.
"Asean countries can also learn from the success and failures of the EU, and how European countries tackle financial issues. In Malaysia, we can exchange ideas on the Islamic financial services and learn from its experiences," he said during a media briefing on the ASEM Summit.
The key inter-regional meeting will involve 53 countries this year, with the inclusion of Kazakhstan and Croatia.
As the upcoming chair of Asean, Vandebon said Malaysia is an important partner in the dialogue.
"The EU and Asean are the two largest single regional integration efforts in the world.
"We are talking about 600 million consumers in Asean, and in the EU, 550 million. Malaysia is a gateway to Asean opportunities," he added.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to lead the Malaysian delegation to the summit, which will be chaired by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
Themed, "Responsible Partnership for Growth and Security", Vandebon said the leaders are also expected to discuss regional and global challenges, including areas of Asia-Europe connectivity, security and sustainable growth.
Trade between the EU and Asean is huge. The EU is Asean's third largest trading partner with total trade between the two groupings valued at US$246.2 billion (US$1=RM3.25) in 2013.
Exports from Asean to the EU amounted to US$124.4 billion, whilst imports totalled US$121.8 billion. (BERNAMA)
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