The results of the 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, the 12th AEM -EU Consultations and the third ASEAN-EU Business Summit were announced at a press conference in Hanoi on March 9.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh noted that the average growth of 7 percent in two-way trade reflected the strong commitment of both sides to facilitating trade and investment. The consultations between ASEAN Economic Ministers and the EU also recognised progresses in implementing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

In addition, Minh said the consultations discussed the possibility to resume negotiations on the bilateral free trade agreement between the ASEAN and EU.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN-EU Business Summit exchanged views on promoting trade and facilitating investment and listened to enterprises’ feedback.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht underscored the success of the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, saying this will create a more favourable business and investment environment for EU-ASEAN cooperation.

The negotiation of the ASEAN-EU FTA will be accelerated, he affirmed, emphasising EU’s interest in ASEAN, an active developing market.

At present, bilateral trade deficit is being reduced as a number of ASEAN member nations have a huge demand for EU products.

He said he believed that EU will soon become ASEAN’s largest economic partner and the formation of the ASEAN Community by 2015 will have a great significance for the EU.-VNA