The ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) aimed at boosting trade and investment between the two regions. The agreement is significant as it covers a market of 1.17 billion people and around 25% of the world`s GDP.
The FTA was initiated in 2007 and negotiations concluded in 2019, with the agreement set to be signed in 2020. It is expected to eliminate around 99% of tariffs on goods traded between ASEAN and the EU over the next decade.
The ASEAN region consists of ten countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The EU is made up of 27 countries, including major economies such as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
The FTA will provide numerous benefits to both regions. ASEAN countries will have better access to the EU`s market, which will help increase exports and create new jobs. The agreement will also provide a framework for businesses in ASEAN countries to work with partners in the EU and vice versa.
The FTA will also foster greater economic integration between ASEAN and the EU. The agreement will encourage the establishment of joint ventures and partnerships between businesses in both regions, which will increase investment and facilitate the transfer of technology and knowledge.
In addition to boosting trade and investment, the FTA will also have a positive impact on consumers. It will lead to increased competition, which will result in lower prices for goods and services.
However, there are some concerns regarding the FTA. Critics argue that it may lead to an increase in cheap imports from the EU, which could harm local industries in ASEAN countries. There are also concerns about the impact of the FTA on the environment and labor standards.
Despite these concerns, the ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement is a significant step towards greater economic integration between two important regions. It will provide numerous benefits to both ASEAN countries and the EU, and help create a more connected and prosperous world.