March 29, 2024

Balancing Environmental and Socioeconomic Priorities: EU-ASEAN Relations and the Deforestation Regulation

On 2 February 2024, the 2nd meeting of the Ad Hoc Joint Task Force (JTF) on the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), between the EU Commission, Malaysia, and Indonesia took place in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The gathering was organised by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) and followed the initial meeting held on 4 August, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Attended by official representatives and stakeholders from key industries affected by the EUDR, such as palm oil, rubber, cocoa, timber, and coffee, the JTF aims to address concerns raised by ASEAN members, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia, regarding the EU’s deforestation regulation. The establishment of the JTF reflects efforts to enhance communication and mitigate tensions between the EU and ASEAN nations.

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The Middle Corridor Initiative – Where Europe and Asia Meet

Over the past two years, geopolitical shifts in Eurasia have significantly impacted global supply chains, alongside various political and economic dynamics. The repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea have led to serious discussions on the liability of different transport routes. There has been a visible redirection of cargo flow from northern to southern routes in the East-West direction, rendering traditional transport paths less relevant and sought for. Amidst the diminishing significance of the New Eurasian Land Bridge (NELB) or ‘Northern Corridor,’ a demand for alternative transport routes has emerged, with particular attention drawn to the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), also called the ‘Middle Corridor.’

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