HC Deb 30 March 1994 vol 240 cc804-5W
34. Mrs. Gorman

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with EEC counterparts about relations with Pacific rim countries.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

Relations with third countries are discussed on an ad hoc basis at Foreign Affairs Councils. We and our partners understand the growing political and economic importance of this part of the world—in 1992, 7.8 per cent. of United Kingdom exports went to the Asia Pacific region and, for the first time, the European Union traded more with east Asia than with north America. The EC has co-operation agreements with the Association of South-East Asian Nations and with China and one is currently being negotiated with Vietnam.

During the United Kingdom presidency we made a priority of developing the Community's relations with Japan, based on the arrangements for consultation as laid out in the EC-Japan joint declaration of 1991 and we continue to press for this to be consolidated. The Germans have stated that the strengthening of relations between the European Union and Asia will be a focal point of their presidency—including intensification of the European-Japanese dialogue, and examination of the options for concluding a co-operation agreement with the Republic of Korea, as well as the normal ministerial EC/ASEAN meeting scheduled for September. We have welcomed this.

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