The United Kingdom and the ASEAN member states launched at the end of June their formal partnership to strengthen their long-standing ties by convening the first meeting of the ASEAN-United Kingdom Joint Cooperation Committee (AUKJCC).
Officials from ASEAN and the UK discussed ways to enhance the ASEAN-UK cooperation in areas including energy, sustainable economic growth, science, technology and innovation, financial services, and digitalisation, the ASEAN bloc said in a statement. The parties also exchanged views on support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), boosting tourism and culture ties, and education. The UK and ASEAN launched the partnership dialogue on ASEAN Connectivity initiatives and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI).
The meeting on 24 June also adopted the Terms of Reference of the AUKJCC, and noted the ongoing negotiations on a Plan of Action (PoA) to Implement the ASEAN-United Kingdom Dialogue Partnership for the period of 2022-2026. The dialogue partnership will serve as a practical guide to further substantiate the Dialogue Partnership with a focus on areas of mutual interest, aligned with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Last year, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers conferred the status of Dialogue Partner on the UK at the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting on 2 August 2021. The ministers agreed to give the United Kingdom the status of Dialogue Partner of ASEAN in view of its individual relationship with ASEAN.
“The partnership, which is the first ASEAN has agreed in 25 years, will lead to closer cooperation between the UK and the region on a range of issues such as trade, investment, climate change, the environment, science and technology, and education,” the UK government said in August 2021.