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Press Release: UK and ASEAN agree importance of future relationship


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Fri, 1 Feb. 2019

Published: 24 January 2019

From: Foreign & Commonwealth Office and The Rt Hon Mark Field MP

Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field met the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 23 January.

During the meeting, FCO Minister Mark Field reaffirmed the UK’s strong commitment to forging a stronger partnership with ASEAN building on the foundations of our strong bilateral relationships across Southeast Asia.

The meeting came during Secretary General, Dato Lim Jock Hoi’s two-day visit to the UK.

The ministers discussed likely areas of focus for future co-operation, including FinTech and green finance, the development of smart cities, cyber security, education and increased defence co-operation. The Minister also told the Secretary-General about the launch of two new UK programmes supporting ASEAN priorities for economic reform and low carbon energy.

Minister of State for Asia, Mark Field said:

“UK investment in Southeast Asia exceeds our investment in China and India combined, and with ASEAN businesses collectively ranking as the third largest Asian investor in the UK, it isn’t hard to see why developing our relationship is a priority.

As Minister for Asia I am glad to have the opportunity to discuss with the Secretary General how we can build on our strong relationships in the region to forge a new, national partnership with ASEAN as a bloc.”

On his two day visit to London, the ASEAN Secretary-General met a range of UK Ministers, including Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, as well as engaging with UK business and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys, reflecting the UK and ASEAN’s many areas of shared interest.

UK investment in Southeast Asia exceeds UK investment in China and India combined, and the region is a growing and important source of investment into the UK. UK exports to Southeast Asia rose 19% in 2017 alone. ASEAN sits at the centre of Asian multilateralism and plays an important role in upholding the rules-based international system.

The visit follows a host of activity already this year, including a speech by the Foreign Secretary in Singapore, and a visit to Vietnam by Minister of State for Asia & the Pacific, Mark Field MP.

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