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EU to strengthen trade, investment relations with South-East Asia

(Xinhua)

09:56, March 29, 2012

PHNOM PENH, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The European Union aims to open up new trade and business opportunities in this fast growing region and create strong partnerships which support ASEAN's economic integration.

In a statement released Wednesday by EU office in Cambodia, it said the European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will head to Cambodia on Thursday to meet with ASEAN economic ministers and attend the second ASEAN-EU Business Summit on April 1.

"EU is increasing its economic ties with South-East Asia by opening negotiations for free trade agreements with Singapore and Malaysia in 2010 and remains open to start negotiating similar comprehensive free trade agreements with other partners in the region," the statement said.

These bilateral agreements are considered building blocks for a future free trade agreement with the whole region.

Commissioner De Gucht was quoted as saying in the statement that "The meeting with South-East Asia economic ministers and the second ASEAN-EU Business Summit this year, underline our dedication to engage ASEAN member states and the private sector in the region in order to strengthen our economic ties."

"Given the economic dynamism of the ASEAN region, I see considerable opportunities for working more closely together in the coming years." he said.

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