The European Union was planning on a bilateral trade agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for many years. On 4 May 2007, the two sides agreed to start negotiations.
The EU-ASEAN FTA is supposed to be a comprehensive agreement. While ASEAN states are hoping to gain additional market access in the EU, the agreement is expected to have a much bigger impact in strengthening business opportunities for European TNCs in the region.
The talks have moved slowly and it’s not clear if the final deal will take the form of separate agreements between the EU and individual ASEAN members, something the EU seems to prefer. This would allow European governments to avoid taking on any commitments that support the regime in Burma but also to deal with the economic heterogeneity among ASEAN members.
EU procedures require that all ASEAN countries sign a Partnership Cooperation Agreement, containing a commitment to human rights, as a prerequisite to an FTA. Indonesia has already concluded its PCA with the EU, Singapore and Thailand are in advanced stages of negotiations, and Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei are soon to begin. The Philippine government stated early on that it expects problems in negotiating a PCA, as the agreement apparently requires that the signatory state join the International Criminal Court.
Click here for the European Commission’s page on the EU-Indonesia FTA
last update: May 2012
EU-Asean free trade talks are at "an intense" exploratory stage and the third high-level meeting of trade officials from both regions is scheduled to take place in Bangkok next week, said EU envoy to Malaysia, Thierry Rommel.
Policymakers from Asean and the European Union are expected to receive a feasibility study on the free-trade agreement between the two blocs in April, according to an EU trade official.
Owing to slow multilateral trade negotiations, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — two of the world’s most important trading blocs — are moving toward a free trade agreement as a means of boosting two-way trade.
The European Community and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to study the potential for a free trade agreement between the two groups, trade officials said on Wednesday.
At the fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi, PM Jean Claude Juncker, incoming President of the European Council, President Romano Prodi of the European Commission, PM Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand and PM Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore confirmed their intent to launch official negotiations for the conclusion of bilateral ’Partnership and Co-operation Agreements’ between EU-Thailand and between EU-Singapore.
The proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) have temporarily been placed on the back burner after European countries have made it clear that they would father pursue a multilateral trade scheme under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Wesbite of the European business lobby in ASEAN
Background on the EU’s overall relations with ASEAN, seen from Brussels