European Union looking to Asia for increased trade

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By Cate Hull

FreightExchange is a freight and logistics company operating in Australia and Southeast Asia. As a result, we are closely following international trade deliberations between the U.S. and China and how those discussions affect other nations.

Recently, leaders from the European Union (EU), Switzerland and Norway welcomed 21 Asian counterparts, including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, to an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels.

The 51 gathered leaders showed solidarity for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to quit, according to Reuters.

Leaders representing 55 percent of global trade expressed their joint commitment to open, free and non-discriminatory trade and pledged to fight all forms of protectionism.

“As the Trump administration is getting more and more unpredictable, causing insecurities and damage, everybody is looking for coalitions and partners for a stable relationship. ASEM is a perfect opportunity to come together and show unity in fundamental principles of international relations,” said Jo Leinen, MEP and chair of the European parliament’s delegation for relations with China.

EU President Jean-Claude Juncker emphasized the importance of trade between the EU and Asia. “We want to give our relationship with Asia, which is already very dynamic – as illustrated by the numerous trade and cooperation agreements we have, fresh impetus. Only a multilateral approach will enable us to confront global challenges. Therefore, I reiterate our commitment to support multilateral organisations in all their efforts, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation – a World Trade Organisation that we have to reform together, so that its rules correspond better to the new realities. It is by acting together that we will be able to preserve our planet, contribute to resolving conflicts, eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and better manage migration flows and develop free and fair trade.”

EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini said what transpires between Europe and Asia is global in scale. “Together we represent 55 percent of global trade, 60 percent of global population, 65 percent of the global economy and 75 percent of global tourism. Together we represent a real global power,” she added.

Leaders at the EU-Asia summit meeting also addressed climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, production of Chinese steel, North Korea’s nuclear development, immigration and cyber security.

As a freight and logistics company, FreightExchange supports free and open trade across the international spectrum and encourages nations to find ways to promote international commerce for the betterment of all nations.

Cate Hull is the CEO of FreightExchange, a freight and logistics firm based in Sydney.