Norway will be the first country in Western Europe to enter into a formal partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Mr Brende is currently in Malaysia as a guest at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. ASEAN has ten member states with a total population of around 620 million.

In 2014, the ASEAN countries – taken together – were Norway’s fourth largest trading partner and home to the highest concentration of Norwegian companies operating abroad.

‘ASEAN is playing an increasingly important role regionally and globally, both in political and economic terms.

Together, the ASEAN countries have the world’s fourth largest economy, and the association aims to launch a common internal market by the end of 2015. Norway’s partnership with ASEAN is therefore good news for Norwegian companies,’ said Mr Brende.

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[photo credits: “Bryggen (6-2007)” by I, Fgmedia. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bryggen_(6-2007).jpg#/media/File:Bryggen_(6-2007).jpg]