Europe-PH News

EU ASEAN investment Plan To Tap Business Opportunities

April 18, 2012

EJ Diaz

Europe-PH News

European and Southeast Asian business leaders have drawn up a trade and investment plan to tap business opportunities from both sides, a foreign chamber said yesterday.

“Europe is the largest destination of exports from ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries with shipments valued at more than $113.80 billion in 2011,” the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said in a statement.

“Still, with Europe only accounting for 10% of ASEAN’s total trade with the world, optimism is high that there will be a significant growth over the next few years,” it added.

The European Union (EU) and ASEAN Business Council (EABC) met in Cambodia earlier this month to discuss ways to increase trade between the two blocs.

The meeting, which was attended by more than 300 businessmen, highlighted the increasing importance of the ASEAN as an investment destination for EU businesses.

“The EU and ASEAN are both real powerhouses in international trade terms. And so it makes real business and political sense to see us working more closely together as that will see our companies go from strength to strength,” European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, ECCP treasurer Cyril Rocke said: “Europe matters. Contrary to common perception, European companies are not just looking to China for potential investments. Trade and investments to ASEAN member countries have been steadily increasing over the past few years.”

The EABC was founded in May 2011 in Jakarta by the European chambers and business associations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Cambodia, which joined this month, is the newest member of the EABC, while Laos joined the council on observer status.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

Meanwhile, the EU has committed €50 million over the next two years to support the United Nations campaign for sustainable energy in developing countries, including the Philippines.

In a statement yesterday, the EU said the technical assistance facility will support the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, which aims to provide access to sustainable energy for 500 million more people by 2030.

The funding was announced by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso during the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels.

In his speech, Mr. Barroso said the EU is also looking to mobilize several hundred million euro to support concrete new investments in sustainable energy for developing countries.

“The link between energy and development is fundamental. Without energy access, we simply will not meet the Millennium Development Goals,” Mr. Barroso said, referring to the list of development objectives for which the international community has set 2015 as the deadline.

Private sector and civil society participation is also vital in ensuring access to sustainable energy, he added.

Through its technical assistance, the EU will also push for expanded and improved financial instruments including the development of public-private partnerships on energy access or setting up risk guarantee schemes.

The EU noted that at present, one in five people globally live without access to electricity. Up to two million people a year also die of respiratory diseases due to indoor air pollution caused by cooking with unclean fuels.

The UN has declared 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All as it launched its Sustainable Energy for All campaign.

It aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

In the Philippines, the UN is supporting several projects on the energy sector.

These include the Small Grants Program, which supports the development of small-scale new and renewable energy projects such as micro-hydro and community based solar power facilities. -- EJD and KAMP

 

Source: Business World; The Economy; 18 April 2012

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