A dialogue to promote economic cooperation between ASEAN and the European Union (EU) was held in Jakarta on December 10-11 by the ASEAN Secretariat, the French and German embassies and a delegation from the EU in Indonesia.

The two-day event brought together major ASEAN, European and international economic experts, both from the public and private sectors, and representatives from several leading regional and international businesses operating in the ASEAN region.

Speaking at the event, representatives from the embassies and EU delegation affirmed the huge potential for cooperation between ASEAN and the EU in all fields, especially in economics.

They also shared experience in integrating and building common communit y as both sides have many similarities in this area.

French, German and EU diplomats reaffirmed their governments’ commitments to supporting ASEAN as well as its member countries, including through the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

They said that this dialogue and the others that will follow in the future will bring many opportunities for public-private areas of ASEAN and the EU to share their experience on regional integration, thus strengthening mutual understanding and promoting business partnerships as well as investment and trade cooperation between the two sides.

In the framework of the event, participants focused on the progress that ASEAN has made in its bid to establish an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 and enhancing business connectivity within and between the blocs.

Also deliberated at the event were the lessons from the global economic downturn, especially the public debt risk in Europe; the importance of regional integration and trade in coping with global economic challenges; the cooperation prospects between ASEAN and the EU; and ASEAN’s achievements in reforming regional economics.

ASEAN Vice Secretary General Lim Hong Hin noted that the potential for promoting cooperation between ASEAN and the EU is huge, however, the rate of trade exchange between the two sides accounted for only 9.8 percent of the total value of trade exchange between ASEAN and its other partners in 2011.-VNA