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ASEAN, EU discuss lifting cooperation to new height

A roundtable workshop on cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) was held in Brussels, Belgium on September 30.
The event, part of activities to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of ASEAN-EU ties, was hosted by the Embassy of Thailand in association with the ASEAN Brussels Committee.

The three-session workshop focused on the fields of green development, connectivity, and trade and sustainable supply chain. 

Participants agreed on the significance of the ASEAN-EU strategic partnership, especially amid uncertainties in the regions and the world, along with emerging risks of supply chain disruption, food and energy security.

EU delegates said the union will give priority to green and sustainable development, ensuring safety of supply chain and adaptation to fluctuations in the time to come, with ASEAN in general and its member countries being important partners of the EU.

It is to expand cooperation with ASEAN in green transition, renewable energy, climate change adaptation, infrastructure connectivity and digital transformation, among others.  

Chairing the discussion on sustainable trade development and building adaptive supply chains, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Head of the Vietnam’s Delegation to the EU Nguyen Van Thao highly valued the effective cooperation between ASEAN and the EU and positive results obtained in the recent time. 

Despite the adverse impact of COVID-19, two-way trade neared 269 billion USD last year, posting a year-on-year increase of 18.6%. Direct investment in ASEAN countries by EU members surged by 43% and both regional groupings are each other’s third leading trade partners.

Echoing Thao’s assessments, delegates believed that ASEAN and the EU must efficiently implement signed agreements towards the building of new cooperation frameworks. 

At the same time, they need to seek opportunities in fields the EU boasts strengths in and ASEAN has strong demand for.

The upcoming EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit is hoped to be an important milestone in bringing bilateral cooperation to a new height./.