Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday urged officials in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) to expedite the conclusion of the EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (EU-ASEAN FTA). The organizations reaffirmed this deal as a common long-term goal.
Prime Minister Hun Sen outlined the process in a joint leaders’ statement issued by the EU Secretary-General at a joint press conference marking the first-ever EU-ASEAN Memorial Summit and the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations in Brussels on December 14, 2022. promoted His EU Council in Brussels, Belgium.
The press conference was attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen, EC President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. and members of the media. bottom. The summit was held under the chairmanship and co-chairmanship of the President of the European Council Michel and his 2022 ASEAN presidency, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia.
At the Summit, EU and ASEAN leaders reaffirmed that their partnership is based on shared values and principles such as a rules-based international order, respect for territorial integrity, and effective and sustainable multilateralism. bottom. The two leaders also discussed the strategic partners’ past achievements and future efforts in a wide range of areas, including economic cooperation and trade.
“Our hope is that even though we are far away from each other, our two regions will be connected to each other and become strategic partners, and the big goal just found at the summit will be the free trade between ASEAN and Europe. Agreement. Both regions need to move forward on this matter as quickly as possible,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said.
At a press conference, Prime Minister Hun Sen told participants that ASEAN should not only wait for support from the EU, but should have complementary issues between the two regional economies, even though the EU countries are more developed. He said it meant that he had to. “In this state, we have agreed to establish a free trade agreement,” he said.
“We need a true free trade deal because we really don’t want our people to stay poor and wait for an understanding from the EU.” It’s about connecting two regions to develop their economies.
ASEAN and EU leaders are determined to continue strong economic cooperation, with the EU as ASEAN’s third largest trading partner and second largest investor. ASEAN also encouraged EU cooperation in programs aimed at developing, empowering and supporting MSMEs, which are the backbone of the ASEAN economy. and investment. .
The statement said that the leaders also welcomed trade opportunities through EU bilateral FTAs with ASEAN member states, to strengthen their engagement on trade and economic issues, and to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as the digital economy. He indicated that he would explore other means in the short and medium term. , green technology and services, and supply chain resilience.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU’s ultimate goal is to negotiate an FTA between the EU and ASEAN. “We have experience with free trade agreements with individual ASEAN countries that are the first to come. Now we have experience and they are having success,” said von der Ryan said.