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Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
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Background

ASEM is a forum which brings together 25 heads of states and governments from 7 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam), the People's Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the 15 European member states, as well as the EU Commission.
 
Since its inception in Bangkok in March 1996, various activities have been promulgated and initiated. Various initiatives have also been implemented and considered in order to realise the vision of ASEM of creating greater understanding and cooperation between the governments and peoples of Asia and Europe in the political, economic and social context.
 
On the political level, the inaugural Foreign Ministers' Meeting (FMM) was held on 14 February 1997, and the key deliverable of the Meeting was the launch of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), to which Brunei Darussalam has contributed US$1 million. FMM 2 was held in Berlin on 29 March 1999. Also, ASEM Senior Officials meet regularly to update ASEM partner countries on the development of ASEM activities, to discuss political and security issues of mutual concern and, together with the Foreign Ministers, coordinate the ASEM summits.
 
On the economic plane, various meetings have taken place, notably the inaugural Economic Ministers' Meeting (EMM) which covered in Japan in September 1997. EMM2 will be held in Berlin in October 1999. Senior Officials' Meeting on Trade and Investment (SOMTIs) are convened to promote economic cooperation and, in particular, the liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment. The ASEM Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP) and the Investment Promotion Action Plan (IPAP), which aim to promote and facilitate two-way flows of trade and investment, have been adopted by the ASEM Leaders. Also, Asia-Europe Business Forums (AEBFs) are held to enhance private/business sector-government linkage. In the financial arena, the inaugural Finance Ministers' Meeting (FNMM) was held in Thailand in September 1997 and discussions included the exchange of views on the macroeconomic outlook, and developments and cooperation in the financial sector and customs cooperation. FNMM 2 was held in Frankfurt, Germany in January 1999.
 
In the social context, there are presently on-going projects, which are hoped to promote better mutual understanding through greater intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. A key element in this process is the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), which is instrumental in co-organising activities such as the Asia-Europe Young Leaders' Symposium.
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