Services Sector Seen to Benefit from EU-Asean Free Trade Pact

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Byline: Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

As ASEAN moves closer to a fully integrated economic community with the signing of the ASEAN economic blueprint by its leaders, the EU has also reiterated the benefits with emphasis on services sectors that will accrue to ASEAN under the proposed EU-ASEAN free trade agreement.

In a statement by the EU Commission, EU brought up the independent research commissioned by the EU Commission, which showed ASEAN exports to EU rising by 18.5 percent and its economic gains equivalent to 2 percent of its gross domestic product by 2020.

EU, on the other hand, could see its exports to ASEAN increase by 24 percent thereby increasing total EU global exports by almost 2 percent.

One of the biggest areas of gains for both sides would be in the area of businesses services -- one of the key reasons why the EU-ASEAN FTA needs to tackle services trade.

ASEAN was identified by Global Europe as an ideal FTA partner because it combines high barriers to many EU exports with huge market potential. The FTA is also planned to focus on areas not currently covered by WTO rules such as investment, trade in certain services and the removal of non-tariff barriers.

The EU interest is given emphasis as Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson attended the EU-ASEAN Summit in Singapore where he met with ASEAN trade ministers to take stock of the progress of the proposed an EUASEAN Free Trade Agreement. …