President to open ASEAN-EU business summit

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to open the first ASEAN - European Union Business Summit at the Jakarta Hall Convention Center here on Thursday morning.

ASEAN-EU Business Summit is a high level forum for business players and governments to deal with problems arising from trade relations between the two regional groupings.

Chief of ASEAN Economic Minister Mari Elka Pangestu who is also the Indonesian trade minister said the summit was also intended to look into business and investment opportunities in both sides.

At the business summit participating companies from EU and ASEAN member countries will discuss opportunities in the areas of infrastructure (including transportation and logistics), agri-food, health (including pharmacy), automotive and service (telecommunication and finance).

The participating companies are expected to discuss their inputs with ten ASEAN economic and trade ministers and the EU special trade commissioner.

The outcome of the business summit will be brought to an annual meeting of ASEAN and EU economic ministers for approval.

Since the business summit will accommodate the aspirations of ASEAN and EU business players, the outcome of the meeting will hopefully reduce constraints in their efforts to enhance investment and trade ties.

Trade between EU and ASEAN last year reached 147 trillion euros. EU is ASEAN`s second biggest trade partner while ASEAN is EU`s fifth biggest trade partner. EU is also the biggest investor in Southeast Asia. (*)