The Symposium was held with a view to considering how best closer economic ties between Asia and Europe would benefit the two regions and the global economy as a whole, against the backdrop of the dramatic trend the world is now facing.
In the world economy of today, multilateral (WTO), regional/bilateral (EU, ASEAN, FTAs/EPAs) and inter-regional (ASEM, APEC) developments are proceeding simultaneously. The Doha Development Agenda was agreed at the WTO Ministerial Conference in November 2001, which launched a new round of multilateral trade negotiations covering a broad range of issues. Europe has been advancing the historic process of integration with the expansion of EU membership, and Asia has witnessed new developments such as FTAs/EPAs. Deepening Asia-Europe dialogue on inter-regional cooperation in this multi-layered world economy at this timing would not only help countries of Asia and Europe to make the WTO new round a fruitful one, but would push forward Asia-Europe cooperation in medium- to long-term.