Statement at the 11th Asem Summit

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 16 July 2016

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende's statement at the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) 16 July.

Excellences, colleagues,

As Europe and Asia share a common continental landmass, Eurasia, the bonds between our two continents have always been strong.

And as the largest cooperation forum between our two continents, Asem has been instrumental in forging links and cooperation for peace and development.


There is a responsibility on us now - Asia and Europe must join forces to try to kick-start the world economy, and renew efforts to revive the multilateral trading system.

Eight years after the financial crisis, world economic growth is still too low, and unemployment is still too high.

Before the financial crisis, trade was growing twice as fast as GDP.

Today, trade is growing at the same rate, or a bit lower, as GDP -- just as it was in the late 1970s and early '80s.

WTO recently reported that new trade-restrictive measures has increased to its highest level since they began monitoring this in 2009.

We must all take a clear stand against protectionism. We must instead work to increase trade between our continents.

A win-win world is what works - not zero sum games. Then we end up with zero incremental growth.

The win-win concept has served of well in the last decades, when trade between our two continents increased very substantially – and played a crucial role in creating growth and poverty alleviation.


2015 was an important year for sustainable development.

Financing for development, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Climate agreement agreed on an ambitious agenda of multilateral efforts to eradicate poverty while preserving our planet.

We must now deliver – and walk the talk. There is no plan B, as there is no planet B.

Asem countries are vital in ensuring this, as we represent over 60 percent of not only the world's total population, but also of global trade and GDP.

The consequences of global warming have become painfully clear on both of our continents.

We need concerted efforts to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.


For 20 years, Asem has been an important meeting place to discuss issues of importance for our future and the future of coming generations.

When Asia and Europe stands together, we can find common solutions to the challenges both our continents are facing.

Thank you.