Debating Europe: The EU – ASEAN Free Trade Agreement: Region-to-region versus the bilateral approach (Video)

04 May 2009
Article
"ASEAN should build a different kind of regionalism and not sign bilateral Free Trade Agreements with the EU", says Malaysian MP Mr. Charles Santiago in Brussels in a debate with Mr. Bercero, chief negotiator for the EU in the EU-Korea FTA and Mr.
"ASEAN should build a different kind of regionalism and not sign bilateral Free Trade Agreements with the EU", says Malaysian MP Mr. Charles Santiago in Brussels in a debate with Mr. Bercero, chief negotiator for the EU in the EU-Korea FTA and Mr. Helmut Markov, chair of the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament.

This debate highlighted key issues in the current negotiations between the EU and ASEAN such as: - the EU's aggressive approach to liberalization of all goods and services - the lack of transparency in the negotiations - the contradictions between the region-to-region approach vs. the bilateral approach to the negotiations - and the fact that FTAs are no way out of the crisis The debate, part of TNI's Debating Europe series, was held on 28th April 2009 in Brussels. PART 1: Ignacio Garcia Bercero

PART 2: Helmut Markov


 

PART 3: Debate 1


PART 4: Charles Santiago

PART 5: Debate 2

Debating Europe Series The EU – ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Region-to-region versus the Bilateral approach Organised by Transnational Institute (TNI), April 28 2009 Résidence Palace - International Press Centre, Brussels DEBATE PANEL - Mr. Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament in Malaysia for the Democratic Action Party - Mr. Helmut Markov, Member of European Parliament for the GUE/NGL, chairman of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade - Mr. Ignacio Garcia Bercero, director of Development and managment of trade relations with South-East Asia, European Commission. In May 2007, the European Union launched its Asia policy strategy - the New Partnership for the 21st Century with Asia. The initiative included simultaneous negotiations for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with India, Korea and ASEAN. The proposed EU-ASEAN FTA aims for reciprocal and progressive liberalization of all goods and services, and the inclusion of the so-called Singapore issues – already rejected by developing countries in the WTO Doha Round negotiations. A distinct feature of the negotiations between the EU and ASEAN is the region-to-region approach. Talks so far however failed to generate the needed momentum and might lead to a bilateral approach to the negotiations, similar to what has happened with ongoing negotiations the EU is conducting with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador after the break of negotiations with the Andean Community of Nations region.