EU, ASEAN agree to resume FTA negotiations hinh anh 1The joint press conference of the 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-EU Trade Commissioner Consultations on March 10 (Photo:

Hanoi (VNA) – The European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced on March 10 that they will strive to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two blocs, as European countries look to tap the region's strong growth.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters in Manila, the Philippines, that EU and ASEAN senior officials decided to establish a framework for the resumption of FTA talks. However, they have yet to set up a detailed schedule for negotiations.

The EU-ASEAN connectivity will help remove trade barriers, she said, adding that a bilateral FTA is a long-term target that the EU has been discussing for many years and the EU is taking steps towards this.

A trade deal with ASEAN will link the EU with the world’s seventh-largest market, which boasts strong consumption and middle-class expansion, especially in Vietnam and the Philippines.

The ASEAN region has a combined population of 622 million and an economy of 2.6 trillion USD which is driven by consumption, export, and manufacturing. 

The EU and ASEAN launched negotiations on a region-to-region FTA in 2007 but suspended the process in 2009 as the EU wanted to have bilateral talks with each of the ASEAN members instead of negotiating with the whole bloc.

The EU reached separate FTAs with Singapore and Vietnam, but they have not been implemented yet.-VNA