Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, Director of the EU Centre participated in a panel discussion jointly organised by the Habibie Center, BINUS International University and supported by the Indonesian government to discuss the current state of EU-ASEAN relations and identify ways in which trade and investment relations can be strengthened.
She joined panelists from the Indonesian Trade Ministry, the EU-ASEAN Business Council, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and representatives from the private sector in Jakarta on 19 September and engaged in lively discussions to examine the progress towards the ASEAN Economic Community, the opportunities and challenges faced by businesses operating in ASEAN, and how EU and ASEAN can move gradually towards a bloc to bloc EU-ASEAN FTA. Panelists felt that much work still need to be done for ASEAN to fulfill the promises of an integrated ASEAN Economic Community. Engaging in discussions on an EU-ASEAN FTA could serve as an impetus for the ASEAN countries to cohere more and catalyse the necessary reforms that would bring about greater regulatory transparency and policy stability important for trade and investment between the two regions to flourish. It is important also to remember that people must remain at the centre of all efforts to strengthen ASEAN-EU partnership.
The panel discussion was preceded by a keynote speech by the EU Ambassador to ASEAN, Francisco Fontan Pardo who spoke about the longstanding EU-ASEAN partnership and the importance and potential of this group to group relations.