Cooperation with the countries of South and Southeast Asia

The main countries we cooperate with in South and Southeast Asia are India as well as the ASEAN countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

India ranks with China as one of the world's fastest-growing national economies. It is expected to be the world's most populous country in a few years’ time (1.3 billion inhabitants with a population growth of 1.2%) and to rank third in terms of GDP behind China and the USA. The Indian economy has recorded steady and strong economic growth of between six and seven percent per annum over the last few years. India has a strong voice in international bodies and uses this to exert its influence on international policy-making. Due to its vast land resources (India has the world's second largest area of arable land with 160 million hectare) and the fact that roughly 50% of employment is in agriculture, India's farming sector plays an important role both at national and global level. India focuses on safeguarding self-sufficiency and on exports. The aim is to achieve this by mechanising the mainly small-scale agricultural industry, improving infrastructure and investing in food processing. With their focus on techniques and technology, German businesses offer ideal assets on which to build a promising cooperation. Furthermore, we give special consideration to research and innovation in order to jointly develop solutions for a sustainable agricultural sector. As India is an important agricultural producer and international trading partner, issues of consumer health protection and food safety play a prominent role in German-Indian cooperation. Due to the increased purchasing power of the growing Indian middle class and the change in dietary habits, India also offers good sales opportunities for food produced in Germany.

The ten ASEAN countries, which form an important alliance of 660 million people in Asia, include important agricultural producers such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Viet Nam. The ongoing – or in the case of Viet Nam already concluded – negotiations on free trade agreements between the EU and selected ASEAN countries underline the importance of this group of countries as trading partners. With their high growth rates, the considerable purchasing power of their middle class population and the change in consuming habits, these countries are important target markets for high-quality foodstuffs. Furthermore, as the world's largest producers and exporters of palm oil, Indonesia and Malaysia are important partners in the sustainability strategy. As a member of the German multi-stakeholder initiative “Forum Nachhaltiges Palmöl” (Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil, FONAP), Germany is strongly committed to encouraging the consumption of sustainably certified palm oil in Germany and to improving cultivation methods in Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia, the world’s largest island state, is the most populous country in Southeast Asia and at the same time one of the most densely wooded countries of our planet. Key objectives of Germany’s cooperation with the ASEAN countries include promoting sustainability in the agri-food and fishing sector and in forest management as well as fostering a legally compliant use of timber and deforestation-free production of agricultural commodities. Furthermore, we focus on expanding trade and economic cooperation and on combining our efforts to ensure food security.

Background

ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations headquartered in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The regional organisation was founded on 8 August 1967. Its ten members include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

 

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