In 2006, the EU was the third largest trading partner of ASEAN. ASEAN's trade with the EU increased to USD161.5 billion from USD141.5 billion in 2005.
An FTA between ASEAN and the EU will also strengthen and deepen the region-to-region economic integration and help build ASEAN's capacity towards realising the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 through sharing of EU's experiences of regional economic integration.
The FTA will enable ASEAN to benefit from EU's technical assistance programmes under the TREATI and other economic integration initiatives, as well as engage the EU in joint collaborations to further promote the growth of both the manufacturing and services industries.
The ASEAN-EU Joint Committee has met three times to develop the details of the modalities, work programme and time schedule for negotiating the ASEAN-EU FTA.
Negotiations are currently paused.
The EU is now pursuing bilateral FTAs with individual ASEAN member states. To date, they have commenced negotiations with Singapore and Viet Nam. FTA negotiations with Malaysia are scheduled to commence in early December 2011.
- ENGLISH VERSION ONLY -
The ASEAN-EU Vision Group (AEVG) was established in 2005 by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the EU Trade Commissioner to look into the feasibility of a possible ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement (AEUFTA) and other new initiatives for enhancing economic cooperation and ties between ASEAN and the EU.
Two external studies were undertaken, i.e., a Quantitative Study based on a general computable equilibrium model focusing mainly on the impact of liberalisation and a Qualitative Study examining in depth the non-tariff and regulatory issues related to trade in goods, services and investment.
The Vision Group's study was presented to AEM and the EU Trade Commissioner on 16 May 2006.
The AEM and the EU Trade Commissioner met in Brunei Darussalam on 4 May 2007 and agreed that the negotiations will be based on a region to region approach which recognises and takes into account the different levels of development and capacity of individual ASEAN Member States.
Throughout the negotiating process, measures will also be considered to support and strengthen the process of ASEAN economic integration including through capacity building activities under the Trans Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative (TREATI).
A Joint Committee comprising senior officials from all the ASEAN Member States and EU was established to develop the details of the modalities, work programme and time schedule for negotiating the ASEAN-EU FTA.
The EU has proposed a comprehensive FTA covering the following elements: