Asia plays an increasingly important role in the global economy and in shaping the external environment of the EU economy. The European Commission attaches great importance to economic relations with Asia and continues to strengthen ties with the region. Large Asian countries are also members of the G20, which has recently taken centre stage.
Overall, Asia is the fastest growing region in the world today, contributing most of world growth. Asia, including China and India, is increasingly becoming an engine of global growth and is of rising importance for global economic prospects, both in terms of trade and investment.
The Commission maintains economic relations with Asia at sub regional and bilateral country levels. In addition to these, the Commission holds regular economic dialogues with China, India, as well as Japan and Korea.
The EU and China
Due to its impressive growth performance, China has become a major economic global player and EU-China trade ranks first in the world.
As strategic partners, the Union and China work together to promote world economic growth, sustainable development and macroeconomic stability. More information on EU-China relations can be found on our web page on China.
The EU and India
India is increasingly seen as a key emerging global power. One pillar of India’s growing role in the global economy is its bilateral relationship with the European Union. In this regard, it was agreed to launch a regular macroeconomic dialogue between the Union and India at the EU-lndia High-Level Summit of October 2006. The dialogue provides a forum in which European and Indian policy-makers are able to exchange views on recent macroeconomic developments and prospects, as well as on key policy challenges in both the macroeconomic and structural reform areas. The dialogue is a yearly process, alternating between New Delhi and Brussels. The last dialogue with India took place in New Delhi in May 2011.
The EU and ASEM
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) every second year brings together the Heads of state and government of a number of Asian countries, the EU Member States and the President of the European Commission. Several ministerial meetings in various sectors also take place regularly. The Commissioner for Economics and Monetary Affairs participates in the meetings of the Ministers of Finance; DG ECFIN participates in the meetings of the Finance Deputies and in the Core Group. Since 1997, the ASEM finance ministers’ process has permitted fruitful discussions, exchanges of views and a very efficient sharing of experiences between Europe and Asia. One of the major initiatives take by ASEM finance ministers is the ASEM Trust Fund which was set up after the Asian financial crisis in order to give technical support to the financial and social sectors in Asia. The EU was the main financial contributor to this fund.
The European Commission also supports regional integration in Asia. Further integration inside the Asia-Pacific region is a means of supporting development and growth, and reducing per capita income disparities within the region. In this context, the lessons that can be drawn from the EU’s extensive and unique experience with regional integration are highly relevant for Asia.