The European Union (EU) is one of the top partners of ASEAN, asserted ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh at a recent ceremony celebrating ASEAN Day in London.

Minh told diplomats from 10 member countries that over the past three decades, the ASEAN – EU dialogue partnership has sprawled across politics-security, economics, trade, investment and socio-culture for mutual benefits.

The EU is always a supporter of a would-be ASEAN Community and its central role in regional mechanisms, an important and active player at ASEAN Regional Forum. As the second largest trade partner of ASEAN, the EU was the biggest source of foreign investment inflows in the bloc last year, he said.

The Secretary General added that the UK has done a good job of strengthening the EU –ASEAN collaboration. By means of bilateral and regional channels, ties between ASEAN and the UK have gone a long way, evidenced by the latter’s accession to the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in July 2012.

Trade value between ASEAN and the UK currently makes up 1.3 percent of the bloc’s trade with other countries. In 2011, the kingdom established the UK – ASEAN Business Council that is responsible for extending their networking.

In his speech, Managing Director of the UK Trade & Investment’s Policy and Network Development Nick Archer hailed ASEAN as a region boasting a huge population and a key geo-political position, adding that it is where UK firms are able to seek chances in finance, education and infrastructure.

The UK government pledges all possible support to home businesses active in the bloc, he said.

On the occasion, Minh also presented an overview of shaping the ASEAN Community by 2015, saying that it is on track to the deadline with over 80 percent of the tasks completed.

Once established, the ASEAN Economic Community will make room for prosperity in all of its member states, he confirmed.-VNA