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IP/03/1066

Brussels, 22 July 2003

Pascal Lamy meets Asian Trade Ministers to strengthen EU-Asia trade relations

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will attend the 5th Asia Europe Meeting of Economic and Trade Ministers (ASEM EMM5) which brings together ministers from ten Asian countries, the EU-15 and the European Commission in Dalian (China) from 23 to 24 July 2002. Closer co-ordination on the on-going WTO negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda, initiatives to enhance trade and investment links between Europe and Asia as well as the EU's upcoming enlargement will feature high on the agenda. Before leaving for Dalian, Pascal Lamy said: "Less than two months ahead of the WTO meeting in Cancun in September, EU and Asia have in Dalian an opportunity to send a clear message in support of the on-going negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda. We need to make sure that opening markets and creating new trading rules will be to the benefit of all and in particular developing countries."

During the Ministerial meeting on 23 and 24 July both parties will examine the on-going WTO negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda. They will stress the importance of the upcoming WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancun in September to make substantial progress so that the negotiations can be concluded by the end of 2004.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss recent milestones in the process of regional integration on both sides. The EU side will brief on its upcoming enlargement and the trade impact for Asian countries. Enlargement will be good news for Asian countries given the increase in the size of the EU market and the fact that trade in the 25 EU Member States will be governed by the same set of clear, transparent and predictable rules.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity to discuss the state of play of the trade relations between both regions as well as activities under the economic pillar of ASEM.

Background

ASEM (the Asia-Europe Meeting) which began in 1996, is an informal process of dialogue and co-operation on political, economic, and cultural issues, bringing together the fifteen EU Member States and the European Commission, with ten Asian countries (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). Trade ministers get together once a year and their meetings are complemented by a range of activities at working level devoted to facilitating trade and improving investment conditions. The last ASEM EMM took place in Copenhagen in September 2002.

For more information see:

SPEECH/01/569, SPEECH/01/561, IP/01/1253, SPEECH/01/73, SPEECH/01/67, IP/02/251, IP/02/1329

And the following Websites:

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/bilateral/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/asem/intro/index.htm

Fifth ASEM Economic Ministers Meeting (EMM 5) Dalian, China, July 23-24 2003 Agenda

    Opening Ceremony

    Adoption of the Agenda

    Global Economic Developments

    WTO

    ASEM Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP) and Investment Promotion Action Plan (IPAP)

    Future perspectives of the ASEM Economic Pillar

    ASEM Task Force for Closer Economic Partnership between Asia and Europe

    Interaction with Business

    Next meeting

    Any other Business

    Conclusions and Closing Remarks

    Press Conference


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