FM Nguyen Dy Nien attends 13 th ASEAN -EU

Dec. 12 (VNA) -- Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien, who is also President of the ASEAN Standing Committee, is attending the 13th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting which opened in Vientiane, Laos on Dec. 11.

The two-day meeting drew foreign ministers from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ministers of the European Union (EU).

In their opening speeches, Lao Prime Minister Sisavat Keobounphan and French Cooperation Minister Charles Josselin expressed satisfaction that the meeting had been held in the Lao capital on schedule.

The two sides discussed measures to boost cooperation in economics, trade and security, and the atlook for ASEAN-EU relations.

The European Union is the most important economic partner of ASEAN after Japan and the United States, with exports from the EU exceeding USD 45 billion in 1997. The EU imported goods worth over USD 46 billion from the ASEAN in that year. However, bilateral trade dwindled somewhat during the Asian economic crisis, although it has gradually bounced back in more recent times through increasing trade and investment.--