ASEAN officials hold investment, trade workshop
FORTY-five officials, business representatives and academics from eight countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Secretariat gathered in a workshop to discuss international trade and investment in the Centrepoint Hotel here last Wednesday.
A press release from the European Union (EU) said that the workshop called "International Trade and Investment in the Context of Preferential Trade Agreements", discussed practical and theoretical issues, including international investment policy and law, in light of an increasing number of preferential trade agreements.
"It covers international investment agreements, as well as ASEAN and EU investment perspectives, that arise in the context of preferential trade agreements," the press release said, adding that workshop is the eighth of a series taking place throughout ASEAN, which has already covered a variety of trade issues, such as agriculture, non-agricultural market access, trade and services, international investment issues.
Previous workshops took place in Siem Reap, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Bangkok, Vientiane and Manila. The ninth workshop on trade and regional integration is scheduled to take place in Yangon, Myanmar, in September this year.
British High Commissioner and the local president for the EU member states, Rob Fenn, praised ASEAN on the success of the ASEAN Summit in the country last week while noting the progresses made towards realisation of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
"The EU hopes to have ever closer dealings with the AEC. In Europe, we take great pleasure in ASEAN's success, and great pride whenever we can contribute to that success on the basis of our own experience," said Fenn.
Also present was the team leader of the EU-ASEAN Enhancing ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Negotiating Capacity Programme Dr Carolyn Gates; EU trade expert Professor Julien Chaisse; and Director of International Trade from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Brunei Tutiaty Wahab.
The workshop was organised by the EU-ASEAN Enhancing ASEAN FTA Negotiating Capacity Programme which is a 2.5 million euros (US$4 million) cooperation programme funded by the EU for the benefit of ASEAN.
Other than supporting ASEAN economic integration and preparedness for negotiations on FTAs, the programme also seeks to provide training, research and analysis, and bilateral FTA negotiations simulations for government, private sector and academic representatives of the ASEAN. ASEAN is the EU's third-largest trading partner with 175 billion euros (US$284 billion) worth of trade in goods and services in 2010.