Why in the discussion?
The Summit of 12th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) concluded on October 18-19 in Brussels, Belgium, in which 51 countries, including the European Union and Asian institutions, were also involved. The Vice President of India represented from India. Under the title ‘Global Parteners for Global Challanges’ leaders, leaders address the world’s most pressing issues
Asia-Europe Meeting
  • Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an inter-governmental process for promoting dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe.
  • ASEM was founded in 1996 during its first summit in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Initially it included China, Japan, Korea and European Commission with 15 European Union member countries and 7 ASEAN member countries.
  • Currently there are 53 partners: European Union and ASEAN Secretariat except for 30 European and 21 Asian countries.
  • The ASEM Summit is held biennially.
  • ASEM represents 62% of the global population, 57% of global GDP and 60% of world trade.
  • ASEM addresses political, economic, financial, social, cultural and educational issues of common interest with mutual respect and sense of common partnership.
Continuous connectivity between Europe and Asia
  • The importance of investment in the more sustainable connectivity between the EU and Asia was highlighted at the conference.
  • The EU has adopted the proposal for the establishment of the European Commission in September under a new strategy to link Europe and Asia in September.
  • With the financial, environmental and social sustainability at the core of the connectivity approach, the purpose of the EU is to develop sustainable connectivity networks in the digital, transportation, energy and human dimensions at regional and international level, besides strengthening the bilateral partnership.
  • With the aim of improving the euro-asian connectivity, the European Commission has launched the ASEM Sustainable Connectivity Portal this week, for policy makers, researchers, businessmen and other stakeholders, between two continents, political, economic and social Works on raising statistics on relations.
Strengthening EU-Asia bilateral relations
  • At the ASEM summit, the European Union signed several bilateral agreements to further strengthen and expand their relations with Singapore and Vietnam. In this, the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is the key.
  • Framework agreement on partnership and cooperation and the EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement were also signed.
  • These agreements represent an important step between the EU and Singapore for a broad and mutually beneficial relationship, which provide new opportunities for strengthening European and European producers, farmers, service providers and investment as well as political and regional cooperation. Does.
  • The EU is increasing its ties with Vietnam. Earlier this week, the European Commission signed and ratified the EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements.
  • Trade agreement will eliminate almost all types of tariffs on items traded between the two sides.
  • This agreement also includes a strong, legally binding commitment to permanent rights, including the fight against human rights, labor rights, environmental protection and climate change.
  • The European Union and Vietnam also accorded a strong sense of ASEM mutual respect and equal partnership, which addresses political, economic, financial, social, cultural and educational issues of common interest, on forest law enforcement, governance and trade voluntary partnership agreement. Done
India and ASEM
  • In 2006, India joined ASEM during the expansion of ASEM
  • India’s first summit level participation was at the 7th Summit held in Beijing in 2008.
  • India hosted the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers meeting in Delhi-NCR in 2013.
  • ASEM offers India a platform to work with countries with same ideology.
  • India is an active participant in ASEM. Since coming into the group, India is working with ASEM in various fields like Green Energy, Pharma Sector, Disaster Management, sustainable development and preserving the cultural heritage of two continents.
  • Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is a permanent institution established by ASEM. To support the collaborative initiatives being undertaken by the ASF, in 2007, India has contributed regularly to ASEF after becoming a member of ASEM.
  • During the 12th Summit, India used the forum to increase concern for terrorism and urged to work towards adopting the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
  • India also called for cooperation on climate change and the ‘International Solar Coalition’ was introduced as an excellent example of Asia and Europe cooperation.
Forward path
  • ASEM is in the form of a unique communication platform that connects Asia and Europe and is still its need and utility.
  • The ambiguities of ASEM should be resolved and its identities should be worked out to bring them in conformity with the ideal objectives of a clear interactive collaboration.
  • ASEM should be seen from long-term perspective.
Why in discussion
A group of industrial and developing countries recently hastened efforts to start plurilateral talks on the controversial issues at the 12th Ministerial Conference in Kazakhstan. India has filed its objection against the “new round” of business negotiations without ‘proper arrangement of enforcement of existing rules’ in the global business body. 
Astana conference
  • The Astana Conference will be held on 8-11 June, 2020 in Astana, Kazakhstan. This conference can change the original character of the World Trade Organization (Multilateral to Plurilateral) to solve some issues. It is currently being opposed by most countries.
  • Five issues aimed at introducing the pleuralist in Astana include electronic commerce, investment facility, domestic regulation in micro, small and medium enterprises, gender and services.
  • Apart from this, the Astana Conference will also decide whether the WTO will continue to work on the principles of consensus after 2020. 
  • Conflicts between member countries can also arise whether special and different facilities (S & DT) can be provided in the case of developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia in the commitment of implementation of policies. 
  • The US president had told the business body against American interests, after which the WTO proposed reforms under the debate of ‘modernizing’ the WTO with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. 
India’s stand
  • Under the Single Undertaking Framework, all the participants need to agree on every single content of the negotiation. It is known that the Single Undertaking Framework is the basis of the Uruguay Round (1986-1994) of the previous talks and the current incomplete Doha round.
  • According to the African Embassy, ​​India had proposed to reform agreements such as agreements on agriculture (AoA) in the Uruguay Round. 
  • A large number of developing and poorer countries have taken note of India’s concerns. India has criticized the WTO Secretariat for ‘becoming party’ without prior approval of the members in the context of the reforms proposed by the World Bank and the IMF.
China and US stand
  • China reminded the members of the WTO being careful and reminded of the basic principles.
  • The United States supports reforms except for the demands of strengthening the Dispute Settlement Body. America wants that the economies apart from China’s market area be the goals of the reforms of the WTO


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