EU economic diplomacy course resonates with ASEAN officials

Diplomats and government officials from around the region attended the four-day event

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The EU Delegation to Malaysia partnered with the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia to deliver a dedicated course titled “EU-ASEAN Economic Diplomacy Course: Free Trade Agreements & EU-ASEAN Economic Cooperation” from 13 to 16 July 2021.

The course highlighted how the two unions can enhance bilateral collaboration with a particular focus on the EU’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN Member States and how it helps promote sustainable economic recovery and development in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the world’s fifth-largest economy, international trade and foreign direct investment play a critical role in ASEAN’s growth. To date, the EU has entered into FTAs with two ASEAN countries, Singapore and Vietnam. Moving forward, these FTAs will act as building blocks for establishing a region-to-region FTA – the EU's ultimate objective. This would bring together two of the world's largest economies, creating a free trade area with a combined market of more than 1 billion people.

Diplomats from ministries responsible for foreign affairs, trade, investment and economic cooperation spanning seven ASEAN Member States and Timor Leste attended the four-day event. All EU-IDFR course alumni were also invited to attend the virtual discussion on “What does the Strategic Partnership mean for EU-ASEAN Relations?”, organised by the EU Delegation to the Phillippines, with the support of the EUPOP ASEAN, on 12 August 2021.

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