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Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The EU  is actively engaged with the South East Asian region. Negotiations for a region-to-region FTA with ASEAN were launched in 2007 and paused in 2009 to give way to bilateral FTAs negotiations, conceived as building blocks towards a future region-to-region agreement.

Negotiations with Singapore and Malaysia were launched in 2010, with Vietnam in June 2012, with Thailand in March 2013, with the Philippines in December 2015 and with Indonesia in July 2016. Negotiations of an investment protection agreement are also under way with Myanmar (Burma). The European Commission finalised negotiations of a bilateral FTA with Singapore in October 2014 and with Vietnam in December 2015.  

At the regional level, the European Commission and the ASEAN Member States are undertaking a stocktaking exercise to explore the prospects towards the resumption of region-to-region negotiations.

Trade picture

ASEAN countries:

ASEAN as a whole represents the EU's 3rd largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China) with more than €246 billion of trade in goods and services in 2014.

The EU is ASEAN 2nd largest trading partner after China, accounting for around 13% of ASEAN trade.

The EU is by far the largest investor in ASEAN countries accounting for 22% of total FDI inflows in the region. EU companies have invested an average €19 billion annually in the region (2012-2014).

The EU's main exports to ASEAN are chemical products, machinery and transport equipment. The main imports from ASEAN to the EU are machinery and transport equipment, agricultural products as well as textiles and clothing.

EU-ASEAN "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2013-2015, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2013 96.8 81.7 -15.1
2014 101.1 78.6 -22.5
2015 118.5 83.0 -35.4

Date of retrieval: 14/04/2016

More statistics on ASEAN

EU and the ASEAN

Besides the trade negotiations with individual ASEAN Member States, the EU cooperates closely with the ASEAN region as a whole. Cooperation between the two regions is framed by a biannual ASEAN-EU Trade and Investment Work Programme, which is articulated along the following  activities:

  • an EU-ASEAN dialogue, which includes discussions on trade and investment issues at ministerial and senior economic officials levels;
  • bi-regional expert dialogue groups;
  • cooperation activities;
  • regular organisation by business of ASEAN-EU Business Summits.

On the political side, there has been an increased EU engagement vis-à-vis ASEAN, which culminated in June 2015 with a Joint Communication to the EP and the Council outlining further steps to scale up the relationship towards a Strategic Partnership. At the same time, the EU has doubled its development cooperation to the ASEAN as a region and has appointed an EU Ambassador to ASEAN in September 2016, located in Jakarta.

Trading with ASEAN