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For EU strengthening ties with Asia is vital

brussels bureau

For EU strengthening ties with Asia is vital


Held in Belgium’s royal palace, the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) has brought together leaders from nearly 50 countries. ASEM takes place every two years.

The EU sees strengthening ties with Asia as vital to its global standing. Bilateral meetings are also scheduled, notably an EU-China summit with the yuan a bone of contention. A European Union-South Korea free-trade pact is on the cards for Wednesday.

Australia, New Zealand and Russia are taking part for the first time, in discussions on trade, currency security and climate.

According to EU estimates, the ASEM countries account for half of world GDP, almost 60 percent of the population and 60 percent of global trade.

Reform of the International Monetary Fund is high on the agenda. Last week the EU signalled it might give up some of its power there, in a gesture to emerging nations.

Most of ASEM is economic dealings, but it is also expected to touch on piracy at sea, terrorism, nuclear weapons and human rights.

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