The economic relationship between East Asia and the European Union (EU) has been the subject of increasing academic attention. This has been heightened by politico-institutional endeavors to strengthen the weak link in the “Triad” (Europe, East Asia, North America—the world's dominant economic regions) since the early 1990s, including various bilateral initiatives such as the 1991 Japan–EU Declaration and the 1996 Korea–EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement, as well as the new interregional “dialogue framework” provided by the Asia–Europe Meetings (ASEM). The ASEM has wider geoeconomic significance in that it constitutes the last interregional Triadic arrangement to fall into place, the others being the Asia–Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum (augmenting the transpacific axis) and the New Transatlantic Agenda (transatlantic axis).

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