• Short Summary

    The European Economic Community is to sign an important new Economic agreement with ASEAN--the Association of South East Asian Nations.

  • Description

    THAILAND: GV Boats on canal in Bangkok GV Houses on banks of canal and GV Pagodas and temples in city (7 shots)

    BELGIUM 1978: CU Cameraman filming PAN TO GV AND SV delegates at Brussels conference (5 shots)

    INDONESIA 1979: CU Policeman directing traffic, GV cars in streets of Djakarta PAN TO Conference building (3 shots)

    INDONESIA: GV INTERIOR Ceiling of conference hall in Djakarta PAN TO EEC and ASEAN delegates ZOOM INTO CU official striking gong to signal start of conference session (3 shots)

    INDONESIA: GV Dockworkers unloading wood at harbour in Djakarta, GV farm-workers picking tea in Java (3 shots)

    MALAYSIA: GV Rubber plant being tapped in Malaysia, CU Rubber dripping into cup, Sv Worker reaping palm oil trees CU Palm oil seeds in hand (7 shots)

    THAILAND: GV INTERIOR Women in electrical goods factory putting radio components together and completed radios being checked (3 shots)

    SINGAPORE: LV Boats in Singapore harbour PULL OUT TO GV Skyscrapers, SV & CU bank signs PULL OUT TO GV Singapore skyline (10 shots)

    Initials BB/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The European Economic Community is to sign an important new Economic agreement with ASEAN--the Association of South East Asian Nations. The signing, to take place in Malaysia of Friday (7 March), will give all ASEAN members "most favoured nation" status and provide a base for agreements on investment and technical co-operation. EEC foreign ministers and officials will be in Kuala Lumpur for the signing ceremony together with representatives of the five ASEAN countries -- Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

    SYNOPSIS: ASEAN was founded in Bangkok in August, 1967. Its purpose was to accelerate the economic growth of its five non-Communist members -- and also to counter the threat posed by the continuing war in Indochina. The United States and Japan traditionally dominate trade in the region, but ASEAN has campaigned for closer economic ties with the European Community to redress the balance.

    At a meeting in Brussels in November, 1978, ASEAN foreign ministers presented their case for improved access to the EEC market. They were concerned that Europe's share of trade in the region had declined dramatically -- largely because of the erosion of colonial ties.

    The following year, nearly four hundred EEC officials, industrialists and bankers arrived in Djakarta to assess investment opportunities. At the Djakarta conference, ASEAN leaders asked the Community to extend its trade preferences and relax trade barriers. The new economic agreement was finally signed in November.

    Despite inflation problems, the economies of the ASEAN nations are among the fastest growing in the world. Their basic strength lies in the continuing strong demand for their major commodities. The region accounts for 75 percent of the world's tropical hardwoods, 80 percent of rubber and palm oil exports, and nearly 70 percent of tin exports. But growing trading ties between China and the United States recently have reduced American demand for many commodities. Now Malaysia. for one, is seeking additional markets for products such as palm oil.

    Between 1973 and 1978, the gross domestic product in the region increased by an average of seven percent a year. This compares with less than three percent in the European Community. The ASEAN states -- in particular Singapore -- have also achieved a higher growth rate in manufactured output than most developing countries. This they attribute to the openness of their economies and the encouragement of foreign and private investment. EEC officials now admit that, despite the region's historic links with Europe, they have been slow to appreciate the opportunities for trading with the ASEAN countries.

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