Europe

ASEAN, EU agree to lay groundwork to resume free trade talks

  • Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary and Chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting Ramon Lopez, left, shakes hands with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom following a news conference in the 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-European Union Trade Consultations Friday, March 10, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. In their statement, the AEM-EU meeting, being hosted by the Philippines this year, various projects on trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, air transportation and statistics and integration monitoring were discussed. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary and Chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting Ramon Lopez, left, shakes hands with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom following a news conference in the 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-European Union Trade Consultations Friday, March 10, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. In their statement, the AEM-EU meeting, being hosted by the Philippines this year, various projects on trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, air transportation and statistics and integration monitoring were discussed. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade, European Union gestures during a joint news conference with ASEAN Trade and Economic Ministers in the ongoing 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-European Union Trade Consultations Friday, March 10, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, Philippines. In their statement, the AEM-EU meeting, being hosted by the Philippines this year, "discussed various projects on trade facilitation, Intellectual Property Rights, air transportation and statistics and integration monitoring." (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade, European Union gestures during a joint news conference with ASEAN Trade and Economic Ministers in the ongoing 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-European Union Trade Consultations Friday, March 10, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, Philippines. In their statement, the AEM-EU meeting, being hosted by the Philippines this year, "discussed various projects on trade facilitation, Intellectual Property Rights, air transportation and statistics and integration monitoring." (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade, European Union talks to reporters following a joint news conference with ASEAN Trade and Economic Ministers in the ongoing 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-European Union Trade Consultations Friday, March 10, 2017 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. In their statement, the AEM-EU meeting, being hosted by the Philippines this year, "discussed various projects on trade facilitation, Intellectual Property Rights, air transportation and statistics and integration monitoring." (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade, European Union talks to reporters following a joint news conference with ASEAN Trade and Economic Ministers in the ongoing 15th ASEAN Economic Ministers-European Union Trade Consultations Friday, March 10, 2017 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. In their statement, the AEM-EU meeting, being hosted by the Philippines this year, "discussed various projects on trade facilitation, Intellectual Property Rights, air transportation and statistics and integration monitoring." (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

Southeast Asian economies and the European Union have agreed to work toward resuming stalled free trade agreement talks and counter a trend toward protectionism.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters Friday after consultations with economic ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that closing borders, building walls and raising tariffs will not solve miseries that are often blamed on free trade.

Trade ministers of the two regional blocs said in a joint statement said they asked officials to develop a framework for a future free trade agreement. Negotiations were launched in 2007 but were suspended in 2009.