The Council has approved today the start of negotiations eyeing to sign a free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Indonesia, who is a member country of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
The go ahead decision was taken at a meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, without discussion.
In April 2007, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate a free trade agreement with ASEAN, but following the suspension of region-to-region talks, it decided to pursue negotiations with individual ASEAN countries on a case-by-case basis.
Looking at protecting EU investment
The EU is currently negotiating with three ASEAN countries: Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, while talks with Singapore and Vietnam have concluded.
The Council underscores that the EU Commission will continue its efforts to launch free trade negotiations with other ASEAN countries. Despite these negotiations are going to take place on a bilateral basis, the strategic objective of a region-to-region agreement was nevertheless maintained.
Further more in October 2013, the Council extended the scope of its negotiating directives to include provisions on investment protection.
South East Asia to grow at a 4.5% this year, ADB says
Following the latest ADB (Asian Development Bank) forecast published today, growth projections for the South East Asia subregion in 2016 and 2017 remain unchanged at 4.5% and 4.8%, with solid performances by most economies in the first half of 2016 driven by private consumption.
The exception is Viet Nam where the economy where a worsening drought has caused a contraction in the agriculture sector.
The report now projects inflation for developing Asia to come in at 2.8% for 2016 and 3.0% for 2017—a 0.3 percentage point rise for each year from the previous forecasts. The rise is due largely to a recovery in oil and food prices. Oil prices rebounded from early-year lows and food prices rose nearly 9% in June 2016 from the year earlier, marking the fifth consecutive month the index has risen in value.
Image over the headline.- Gabriela Matecna, Slovak Minister for Agriculture. The European Union is now under the Slovak rotating Presidency. Photo credit: The European Union