EU for FTA with ASEAN

Manila, May 15:

The European Union wants to strike a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but human rights issues in Myanmar could be a problem, EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said on Monday.

He said he would meet later in the week with his counterparts from ASEAN members; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam who are in Manila for an informal retreat.

“The reason why I want to see closer links between the EU and the ASEAN countries is because I want to persuade European business to look beyond China to the wider opportunities of Asia,” Mandelson told a news briefing.