European Union trade agreements with Singapore and Vietnam: do they serve as models for a region-wide arrangement with ASEAN?

Asia Prospects Snapshot n. 8

In April 2021, the European Council approved conclusions on a comprehensive strategy for cooperation in the Indo- Pacific. Amid significant challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Sino-American rivalry, the European Union (EU) has maintained that one of the long-term pillars of its engagement efforts in the region is its progress towards founding an ‘open and fair environment’ for trade and investment. As a result, Brussels is committed to building a set of ‘ambitious’ free trade agreements with certain Asian partners: in particular, the EU plans to strengthen trade negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), its strategic partner since December 2020.

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