Discussion on EU-ASEAN Economic Relations

EIAS had the pleasure of hosting a delegation of high-ranking decision-makers and academics from six Southeast Asian countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) invited to Brussels and Berlin by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. At EIAS they were welcomed for a discussion on EU-ASEAN Economic Diversification Strategies and Enhanced Partnership Opportunities amid Great Power Dynamics on 23 April 2024.

Southeast Asia, with its 650 million inhabitants and a total gross domestic product of three trillion US dollars, but also with territorial disputes in the South China Sea and geopolitical competition, is of the utmost importance for decision-makers and interested observers in Europe. The countries in Southeast Asia not only offer enormous economic potential, but also a wealth of resources and expertise. A deeper partnership could diversify the European economy and at the same time increase resilience to geopolitical risks.

In order to create a better understanding of the respective economic interests and policies between the EU and ASEAN and promote discussions and cooperation initiatives between experts dealing with international economic issues the following topics were included in the exchange:

  • Economic trends in Southeast Asia and Europe: current cooperation in the areas of trade, supply chains, investment and market access,
  • Mutual perceptions of trade relations and challenges on both sides for more trade. Political priorities in the area of foreign trade.
  • Economic security: prospects for free trade agreements and diversification of trade chains between the EU and ASEAN countries,
  • Cooperation between Europe and Southeast Asia in the areas of climate change, SDGs, energy transition, education and digitalization/AI,
  • Sustainability, social justice and governance (ESG): benefits and concrete opportunities for enhanced cooperation between our two regions.