The European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been dialogue partners since 1977. This bond between the EU and ASEAN has grown stronger and closer over the past 40 years and has paved the way for renewed engagements.
The two regions share close trade relationships. This is based on the fact that the EU is ASEANs second largest trade partner while ASEAN is the EUs third largest trade partner which makes economic and trade relations between the two regions of great interest and importance. The EU wishes to continue sharing its immense experience and success in economic integration, the establishment of a single market and the removal of technical, legal and administrative barriers to trade with ASEAN through, among others, technical support programmes.
One such technical support previously provided by the EU to ASEAN between 2013 to 2016 in trade facilitation in the region was the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the European Union (ARISE). The project included three components i) high level capacity building ii) support to the realization of the single market for goods and iii) ASEAN Secretariat capacity building and was funded by a global EU contribution of 22 million. Acting on the encouraging feedback from ASEAN and building on the accomplishments of ARISE, the EU has decided to continue its support in trade facilitation to ASEAN through ARISE Plus.
ARISE Plus (2017 to 2022) has been designed to further extend the EUs commitment in supporting the ASEAN region in trade facilitation. ARISE Plus builds on the efforts and success of ARISE. ARISE Plus is guided by its 4 main components i) trade facilitation and transparency ii) standards and conformity assessment in particular healthcare and agro-based products iii) customs, transport and ACTS and iv) ASEAN economic integration monitoring and statistics. The technical assistance extended by ARISE Plus and its built-in demand driven feature will further support greater economic integration in ASEAN through the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint (AECB) 2025 and strengthen the institutional capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat and its sectoral bodies.
ARISE Plus for the next four years will continue to strengthen the bond between EU and ASEAN through trade related technical assistance provided to the region and will indirectly contribute to the desire and collective will of a sustained economic growth of the ASEAN charter.