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On 2nd and 3rd March 2016 Guy Apovy, President and Ramon Bruesseler Executive Director of ECCIL attended meetings in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

In presenting the latest EU-ABC position paper looking at the AEC Blueprint 2025, Chairman François Guibert made reference to the importance of ASEAN to European business, stating that the EU is still the largest source of FDI in ASEAN, with more funds in 2014 than the US and Japan combined, as well as being ASEAN’s second largest trading partner. Stressing the importance of the establishment of the AEC he suggested that 2016 was a vital year of bedding-in and deepening the advances made by the AEC.

The position paper presented a number of short term recommendations with a focus on trade facilitation, financial services and investment issues, intended to make a tangible difference to the ASEAN region and help advance the achievement of the goals set out in the AEC Blueprint 2025.

During the meeting with Commissioner Malmstrom, much emphasis was made on the need for the EU to continue to strengthen its relationship with the ASEAN because, despite its predominent position in FDI and trade it was believed to be losing ground to the US and others politically in the region so a more co-ordinated and concerted approach with ASEAN was needed.