Asean, EU seal region-to-region aviation agreement

Successful negotiations on the Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA) were finalised on a virtual meeting last week.

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Photo credit: Singapore Airlines

Asean or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the EU have successfully concluded negotiations last week on the world’s first region-to-region aviation agreement in the form of the Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA).

The AE CATA will enhance air connectivity between Asean and Europe and support economic development in both regions. In addition, the agreement provides for cooperation in aviation safety, air traffic management, consumer protection, and environmental and social issues.

The successful conclusion of the negotiations was held at a virtual meeting on June 2, following eight rounds of negotiations that started back in October 2016. Singapore led the negotiations for the Southeast Asian bloc, whilst the European Commission (EC) led the negotiations for the European Union.

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Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s minister for transport and current minister-in-charge of trade relations, said the air transport agreement is a historic achievement and a milestone in bilateral ties between the regions.

The first region-to-region agreement represents a ‘statement of commitment‘ between Asean and EU member states and will help ‘boost business confidence and support economic recovery.’

“Singapore is honoured to have been able to contribute to the inception, development, and conclusion of the agreement, leading the negotiations for ASEAN, and working closely with our fellow ASEAN Member States and the EU,” Iswaran expressed in a statement.

The AE CATA was first seeded in February 2014 at the EU-Asean Aviation Summit in Singapore, where the EC announced its intention to secure a mandate to begin negotiations with Asean.

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