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EU and Asean confirm objective of free trade agreement

Bandar Seri Begawan - Foreign Ministers of the EuropeanUnion and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean)re-stated their commitment Friday to an eventual free trade agreement between the two economic zones.



The delegates agreed to "reaffirm the ultimate goal of a regional Asean-EU FTA," according to a document produced at the end of the two-day meeting, described as a plan of action to strengthen theAsean-EU enhanced partnership on trade agreements.

"The Asean-EU FTA will build on the bilateral agreements with the individual Asean member states and will take account their different levels of development and capacity," the document said.

Both regions had "enormous potential," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. Europe’s economic woes could not be solved by savings alone, he said, indicating that improved trade ties were also necessary for economic growth.

The EU is currently in free trade discussions with Singapore and Malaysia, and has plans to start talks with Vietnam. The other seven Asean members states are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar,the Philippines and Thailand.//dpa


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