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(Alliance News) – The UK has agreed a new partnership with the south-east Asian bloc in a further sign of a post-Brexit shift away from Europe towards the Indo-Pacific region.
The new agreement sees the UK become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, increasing co-operation on issues including trade and the environment.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the closer relationship with the 10-member bloc was a “landmark moment” for the UK.
Raab said: “I am delighted that the UK has, today, formally become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc – the first new country in 25 years.
“This is a landmark moment in the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific. Our closer ties with Asean will help create green jobs, reinforce our security cooperation, promote tech and science partnerships, and safeguard key pillars of international law like the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
The EU is already a dialogue partner of the Asean bloc. Four Asean states – Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – are signed up to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which the UK also wants to join.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “This is great news and shows global Britain in action, forging stronger relationships around the world as an independent trading nation.
“Along with CPTPP accession and deals with countries like Singapore and Vietnam, this will help unlock opportunities for British businesses in a high-growth region of more than 650 million people, allowing them to expand and create jobs across the UK.”
The other Asean dialogue partners are: Australia, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the USA.
By David Hughes, PA Political Editor
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