Foreign Ministers of the nine countries of the European Economic Community (EEC) gathered in Brussels on Monday (20 November) for talks with their counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Foreign Ministers of the nine countries of the European Economic Community (EEC) gathered in Brussels on Monday (20 November) for talks with their counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The talks, lasting two days, were the first contact between the two groupings at ministerial level, and were expected to concentrate on trade and mutual co-operation.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting took place at the Palais d'Egmont.
The E.E.C. delegation was led by the President of the European Commission, Mr. Roy Jenkins. ASEAN regards the Community not only as a trading partner, but also as a counter to Japan's increasing economic influence in South-East Asia. They are keen to penetrate the lucrative markets of the E.E.C. while its sources see ASEAN, with its growing political role, as a key factor in the continuing peace and stability in South-East Asia.
Established in 1967, ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Informed sources say they hope negotiations will remove worries of Community trade barriers affecting industries such as textiles and footwear. They are keen to sign a co-operation agreement to that effect.
The delegations listened to an address by West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Although the Common Market's share of ASEAN markets has declined in recent years, its officials do not want to rush into an agreement with ASEAN. The talks were expected to cover more general topics, including the world economic situation and aid to developing countries.