Despite the current sluggish growth, the economic ties between the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been continuously growing stronger and the EU retains its position as ASEAN 's second-biggest trading partner after China.
"Despite the economic crisis in Europe in the recent past, trade and investment between ASEAN and the EU remained strong. The ASEAN Economic Ministers commended the EU for its commitment in strengthening bilateral relations with individual ASEAN member states and regional ties," the ASEAN economic ministers (AEM) and the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a joint statement on Sunday.
Malmstrom also announced that the EU would increase assistance to ASEAN from 70 million euros to 170 million euros over the next seven years. More than half will be for the ASEAN’s sustainable and inclusive economic integration and trade.
All 10 economic ministers of ASEAN, including Indonesia, and Malmstrom took part in the 13th AEM-EU trade commissioner consultations in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
According to the statement, the two-way trade between the members of the two regional groupings amounted to US$248.2 billion in 2014, a slight increase of 0.8 percent compared to $246.2 billion in 2013.
A 10 percent of the trade was with Indonesia, the biggest economy in Southeast Asia.
Based on European Commission data, the two-way trade between Indonesia and the EU in 2014 reached $25.97 billion, with $15.65 billion in exports and $10.32 billion in imports.
The 28-member EU was the largest source of foreign direct investment inflows into ASEAN in 2014 at $29.1 billion or 21.3 percent of total FDI inflows into ASEAN, according to the statement.