EU business is a major player in the ASEAN region. Having established chambers of commerce and business associations in the major economies of ASEAN, the business now has taken the next step and works towards regional cooperation through the establishment of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, an initiative supported by the EU Trade Commissioner as well as the ASEAN Economic Ministers. The importance and strength of EU-ASEAN trade and investment is a reflection of the timeliness of the establishment of the Council.
The creation of the Council and its role to act as an interface for public-private dialogue amongst the two regions was presented as one of seven business recommendations to the ASEAN Economic Ministers and formally endorsed by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and several of the ASEAN Ministers at the 1st ASEAN-EU Business Summit in Jakarta on 5th of May 2011. Following the founding of the Council, EU Trade Commissioner met with EU-ASEAN Business Council members and stated: "I see this initiative as a step forward to enhancing the business dialogue between both regions and contributing to advocate European business interests in the ASEAN region."
Since its founding the Council has participated in some high level meetings in the region, and is targeting to be a key dialogue partner with ASEAN, as well as individual Governments in the region and the EU. Thus far the Council has met with the EU Trade Commissioner Karel DeGucht, Singaporean Trade & Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang, and on the invitation of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Chair, Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu, the EU-ASEAN Business Council also participated in the ASEAN Economic Ministers recent summit in Manado, Indonesia. At the Business and Investment Summit in Bali, Indonesia 16-18 November the Council met with the Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, and the Indonesian Minister of Trade, Gita Wirjawan.
The network of ASEAN EBOs (European Business Organisations) that jointly created the EU-ASEAN Business Council is composed of the European Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the European Chamber of Commerce-Singapore, the Thai-European Business Association and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. The Mission of the EU-Asean Business Council is:
- To advocate for European business interests in the region
- To tackle barriers
- To facilitate trade
- To collaborate and interact with the ASEAN secretariat
- To be a dialogue partner with ASEAN governments
- To contribute to and promote ASEAN integration
- To support the establishment of an EU-ASEAN free-trade agreement