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Ministers and senior officials from Asia and Europe talk about economy at the 7th ASEM Economic Ministers' Meeting held in Korea Updated: 2017-09-22 20:07:44 KST

On Thursday and Friday, Seoul hosted the seventh Asia-Europe Economic Ministers' Meeting under the theme of "Innovative Partnership for Inclusive Prosperity".
The forum comes 12 years since Asian and European economic chiefs last sat down together in The Netherlands.
Korea's trade minister Paik Un-gyu, in his opening remarks, called on fellow ministers to find ways to promote trade and investment and reinforce economic connectivity between Asia and Europe.

"Today the global economy face new challenges, protectionism is rising, and industries around the world are undergoing fundamental structure changes. At this critical period, ASEM partners need to demonstrate our leadership given our central roles in the world's economy."

And Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon reiterated the need for cooperation between ASEM members in his welcoming address.

"Economic leaders from 30 European and 21 Asian countries are gathered here to discuss ways to tackle growing protectionism around the world and to enhance mutual economic cooperation."

At a press briefing, the economic experts announced what the forum had achieved, including plans to fight protectionism, by supporting free trade and fully implementing a multilateral trading system, and boost economic connectivity, by further collaborating in areas of common interest in both digital and physical matters.
They also set goals for sustainable development in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.

"Sustainability of our economic development is key. There's no other way to fight against poverty to protect our planet and to ensure prosperity"

Given all the talk of cooperation, Minister Paik had hoped to talk with his Chinese counterpart about Beijing's economic retaliation over Korea's deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.
But the opportunity fell through after China decided to send its vice-minister of trade instead.

The growing importance of cooperation between Europe and Asia means we won't have to wait 12 years for the next forum, as the ASEM members decided to hold the meeting biennially, with the next one in Europe in 2019.
Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News.
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