ASEAN, EU agree to lay groundwork to resume free trade talks

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Southeast Asian economies and the European Union have agreed to work toward resuming stalled free trade agreement talks and counter a trend toward protectionism.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters Friday after consultations with economic ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that closing borders, building walls and raising tariffs will not solve miseries that are often blamed on free trade.

Trade ministers of the two regional blocs said in a joint statement said they asked officials to develop a framework for a future free trade agreement. Negotiations were launched in 2007 but were suspended in 2009.

Updated : 2021-01-28 16:44 GMT+08:00