bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

EU-ASEAN

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


Vietnam expects to sign free trade pact with EU by end-June
Vietnam expects to sign a long-anticipated free trade agreement with the European Union before the end of June, the Southeast Asian country’s foreign ministry said.
Indonesia blocks imports, EU scrambles
In a dramatic escalation in the war over palm oil, Indonesia has upped the stakes and this week tightened imports of European spirits as a direct response to the Renewable Energy Directive Delegated Act.
How palm oil sparked a diplomatic row between Europe and southeast Asia
From threats to cancel UK defence deals to pledges to stop imports of Norwegian salmon, European moves to restrict palm oil have enraged Malaysia and Indonesia.
EU-Singapore trade pact likely ratified this year: Iswaran
The EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which has bee given the green light by the European Parliament, will likely be ratified and come into force in 2019, said Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran.
EU begins process to hit Cambodia with trade sanctions
The European Union started an 18-month process that could lead to the suspension of Cambodia’s duty-free trade access over its record on human rights and democracy.
The EU-Singapore investment protection agreement
An analysis of its impact on managing government bonds and capital flows.
MEPs take note: EU-Singapore deal could hinder fight against fraud and corruption.
The most worrying thing about the EU-Singapore deal is not the risk that Singapore firms themselves pose, but the fact that the agreement looks set to be used as a model for reinvigorating ISDS.
Support the joint letter on the future of ISDS – EU-Singapore IPA vote
Civil society organisations urge Member of the European Parliament to not ratify EU - Singapore Investment Protection Agreement
EU-Vietnam free trade agreement delayed to 2020
The European Parliament elections, which take place May 23-26, 2019, are causing further delays for the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement
EU: Postpone vote on Vietnam free trade agreement
The European Parliament and the European Council should postpone the ratification of the proposed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement until the Vietnamese government takes concrete steps to improve its increasingly abusive human rights record.