ASEAN as a whole represents the EU's 3rd largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China) with more than US$245 billion of trade in goods and services in 2013.
The EU remains to be ASEANs 2nd biggest trading partner behind China, accounting for around 10% of ASEANs total trade in 2013.
Main imports from the EU to ASEAN include transport equipment, machinery and chemical products.
Main exports from ASEAN to the EU are electronics and electronic devices, agricultural products as well as textiles and clothing.
Also, trade in services has grown significantly in the past years, and the EU has by far been the largest investor in ASEAN countries over the last decade, with total Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) inflows up to US$75 billion between 2011 and 2013 (22% of total).
Free Trade Agreements
The EU has increased its economic ties with South East Asia by opening negotiations of free trade agreements (FTAs) with a number of ASEAN members since 2010, of which the negotiations with Singapore have been finalized in 2014. Key takeaways of the EU-Singapore FTA include ensuring a stable and fair regime for foreign investors, immediate duty-free access to the Singaporean market for all EU products, and eliminating virtually all EU tariffs for Singaporean products over a five-year period.
The FTA negotiations with Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia Malaysia are ongoing. The EU remains open to start negotiations with other partners in the region and hopes one day to complete these agreements with a regional EU-to-ASEAN trade agreement.
EU-ASEAN Co-operation on Trade
Co-operation is ensured mainly through an EU-ASEAN Dialogue which includes discussions on trade and investment issues at ministerial (EC-AEM Consultations) and senior economic officials (SEOM) levels.
At a more technical level, the EU and the ASEAN Secretariat conduct seminars on topics such as regional economic integration, liberalization of services, technical barriers to trade and trade facilitation.
Key Trade and Investment Figures
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Sources: ASEAN Economic Community Chartbook 2014, European Commission