ASEAN - EU commemorative summit expected to open era of better economic ties hinh anh 1Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (the third from the right, first row) attends the 10th ASEAN-EU summit. (Photo: VNA)

Berlin (VNA) – A summit commemorating 45 years of diplomatic relations between ASEAN and the EU is expected to usher in an era of better economic ties, reported German newswire DW.

ASEAN and EU leaders are gathering in Brussels on December 14 for their first-ever in-person summit. 

"I see it as an opportunity for the EU and ASEAN to commit to their strategic partnership and shared commitment of following the rules-based international order amid current geopolitical tensions," the newswire cited an EU official prior to the summit as saying.

There is still a lot of untapped potential in the ASEAN, which is on track to become the fifth largest economy in the world in the next four or five years, and the EU wants to complete more bilateral trade agreements, the official said, adding that it is important to diversify their supply and demand chains.

Boosting trade relations with ASEAN is a priority for EU leaders, according to the official

ASEAN is the EU’s third-largest trading partner after the US and China, trading goods worth more than 215.9 billion EUR (229.9 billion USD) in 2021. 

The two blocs began negotiations on a free trade agreement in 2007, but instead opted for bilateral trade deals. However, according to the European Commission (EC), these bilateral trade and investment agreements could serve as a foundation for a future EU-ASEAN trade agreement. 

The EU began trade negotiations with individual ASEAN countries like Singapore and Malaysia in 2010, Vietnam in 2012, Thailand in 2013, the Philippines in 2015 and Indonesia in 2016.  

While agreements with Singapore and Vietnam have been completed, the EU hopes to resume trade talks with Thailand and the new governments of the Philippines and Malaysia at the summit. Ongoing trade talks with Indonesia are also expected to be discussed bilaterally. 

EC President Ursula Von Der Leyen is also expected to put forward an EU investment package to develop renewable energy, transportation, the digital sector and infrastructure with ASEAN countries, the official added.

An EU-ASEAN joint statement which focuses on boosting multilateral ties, is expected to be issued after the summit./.