AFP/Channel NewsAsia reports the European Union is seeking free trade agreements with individual members of ASEAN after failing to secure a deal with the bloc as a whole. Although it is also negotiating with Malaysia and Singapore, the EU has its eyes on the Philippines in particular after proposing FTA negotiations last year that have not been formally acknowledged as yet.

Guy Ledoux, who is leading an EU trade mission to Manila, said “the ball is in the Philippines’ court” to begin the process. Philippines’ exports to the EU were worth some US$3.3 billion in 2009. The country is part of ASEAN’s internal free trade area but has not signed any agreements with countries outside the region on its own, putting it at risk of being left behind as others negotiate their own deals.