Strong push for more EU trade engagement in Indo-Pacific needed

"Economic value and the dynamics in the area, global trade tensions and the recent war in Ukraine highlight that it is even more important for the EU to refocus its trade strategy to include more trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Maintaining and diversifying value and supply chains is crucial for the European economy and its recovery", said ECR Rapporteur Jan Zahradil after his initiative text on an Indo-Pacific trade and investment strategy was adopted in the Committee on International Trade this evening.

“The European Parliament has proposed that the Commission focus more on the Pacific countries which we consider like-minded partners and open to free, fair trade based on common rules.”

The Committee particularly wants to improve cooperation in the areas of critical and emerging technologies, digital issues, and raw materials. The new approach should constitute a reorientation of relations based on shared interests as the region is vital to EU prosperity.

“We see the European Indo-Pacific Strategy as a building block to stabilise the rulebook of the world trade order and restore momentum to the World Trade Organisation”, Zahradil said.

The MEPs want to expand existing trade relations with South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam; and launch new trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Taiwan, as well as ASEAN as a whole. “The current dynamic is definitely positive, with a reinforced strategic partnership with Japan; an imminent start to negotiations with India in June; and the relaunch of talks with Indonesia bringing the EU closer to the Indo Pacific era”, Zahradil added.

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