Norway has been invited to enter into formal partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. - I welcome this partnership, says Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
- It will give us access to iportant political arenas and enhance the opportunities for Norwegian companies in Southeast Asian markets, Foreign Minister Brende says.
Norway will be the first country in Western Europe to enter into a formal partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Mr Brende was this week in Malaysia as a guest at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. ASEAN has ten member states with a total population of around 620 million. In 2014, the ASEAN countries – taken together – were Norway’s fourth largest trading partner and home to the highest concentration of Norwegian companies operating abroad.
‘ASEAN is playing an increasingly important role regionally and globally, both in political and economic terms. Together, the ASEAN countries have the world’s fourth largest economy, and the association aims to launch a common internal market by the end of 2015. Norway’s partnership with ASEAN is therefore good news for Norwegian companies,’ said Mr Brende.
The partnership may help to accelerate the negotiations on a free trade agreement between EFTA and countries in ASEAN.
‘ASEAN’s political significance is growing. Robust regional organisations are important for dealing with ever more complex and cross-border challenges, such as climate change and migration, and for ensuring peace and security,’ Mr Brende said.
ASEAN already has dialogue relations with ten countries, including the US, Russia and China, as well as the EU and a number of other organisations.