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Videoconference of EU-ASEAN foreign ministers to take place


Videoconference of EU-ASEAN foreign ministers to take place

Photo: ASEAN

Foreign ministers from the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will today participate in a videoconference hosted by Singapore.

The conference comes after the ASEAN nations signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on November 15 along with six other western Pacific economies including China. While the free trade agreement is unlikely to have an immediate economic effect on the EU, its potential for broader geopolitical impact is much higher. Should ASEAN nations become more economically self-sufficient, observers have warned that the EU will need to strengthen its ties with East Asia to avoid weakening its current economic and political connections to the region.

Expect the EU to discuss strengthening its ties with the ASEAN group as well as individual member nations. One possibility to do this is joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade agreement that covers half of ASEAN as well as six other Pacific rim countries. ASEAN observers have labelled this a strong possibility for strengthening EU-ASEAN ties. Though recent EU trade negotiations with Vietnam were successful in establishing a new trade agreement, the CPTPP would allow the EU to form a closer bond with the ASEAN nations without requiring negotiations with each nation individually.

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