Illustrative image (Source: europa.eu/embassyofindonesia)

Hanoi (VNA) – The member countries of the European Union (EU) agreed to start negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Indonesia, regardless of the increasing doubt in the EU on the benefits of globalisation.

In a joint statement, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem and Indonesian Minister of Trade Tom Lembong said the EU and Indonesia will represent a market of more than 750 million customers.

The negotiations will be the key to effective cooperative relations between the two economies, the statement said, adding that the talks will officially begin at the end of this year.

The EU currently is the Southeast Asia country’s fourth largest trade partner while Indonesia is the EU’s fifth biggest trade partner in Southeast Asia.

EU is engaging in FTA talks with the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand, while its negotiations with Singapore and Vietnam completed in 2014 and in 2015, respectively.

Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam are all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).-VNA