11th Asia-Europe Finance Ministers’ Meeting
11 September 2014
Finance Ministers and representatives from 49 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Member Countries and the European Commission attended the ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Milan, Italy on 12 September 2014. The Ministers renewed their commitment to increased inter-regional investment and trade flows, protectionism resistance, and a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organization Doha Round.
In their final statement, the Ministers encouraged European and Asian private sector investors, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to continue their contributions to economic growth and enter a new path of economic cooperation. This path would include initiatives on trade and investment that foster integration between the two regions, collaboration on energy efficient use, and technical assistance to enhance European Union-Asia cooperation in infrastructure and connectivity networks.
The Ministers have acknowledged that rising trade integration or increased intra-Asian trade has contributed to the region’s growth resilience during the global crisis. According to Iwan Azis, Head of the Office of Regional Economic Integration at the Asian Development Bank, intra-Asian trade was about 40% in 1990 and continues to increase to almost 60%. He called for both regions to collaborate and ensure that protectionism, particularly through non-tariff barriers does not increase. The benefits of more free trade will help improve productivity and, with structural reform, lead to more sustainable growth.