spiritsEUROPE, which represents the spirits sector at EU level, has called for the establishment of a 'three-pillar' trade strategy with ASEAN markets in Southeast Asia, to 'help support diversification and mutual economic growth'.
The group was commenting following a meeting of EU and ASEAN leaders in Brussels to mark 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two blocs.
'Rising Economic Partner'
“With a population of over 655.5 million inhabitants, the ASEAN Region is expected to become the world’s fourth largest economy and the third most populous by 2030," commented Pauline Bastidon, director of trade at spiritsEUROPE. "It is a rising economic partner and should be seen as a key trade and economic partner by the EU."
The first pillar of a proposed trade strategy should focus on accelerating the pace of FTA negotiations with Indonesia, as well as restarting trade negotiations with Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippine.
Secondly, spiritsEUROPE has called for a deepening of regulatory cooperation with ASEAN countries to address and prevent regulatory barriers.
Thirdly, it has called for the launch of a dialogue with ASEAN countries on the fight against illicit trade, with more than €8.5 billion lost each year in fiscal revenue due to trade in illicit alcohol.
ASEAN countries include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
'Strengthen The Attractiveness'
“A strategy focused on the three pillars of FTA negotiations, regulatory cooperation and joint action against illicit trade could strengthen the attractiveness of the ASEAN region for EU exporters, helping them diversify their export strategies," Bastidon added.
"In return, the EU has a lot to offer, from its large internal market to reinforced partnership in a wide range of areas."
spiritsEUROPE is the representative body for the spirits industry at European level comprising 31 associations and 11 international drinks companies.