Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 45 million
To promote cooperation and partnerships between economic operators in the European Union, South and South-East Asia and China.


Asia-Invest was established on the initiative of the European Commission to encourage the development of cooperation and partnerships between companies in the European Union and 18 Asian countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Afghanistan, and China.

Aimed chiefly at SMEs, the Asia-Invest programme has the following general objectives:

- Encourage growth in two-way trade and investment flows between the EU and South and South-East Asia;
- Promote and underpin the development of mutually beneficial trading relationships and investments between European and Asian companies;
- Help raise the profile of the European Union in Asia;
- Help raise awareness of opportunities in Asia among European economic operators, and facilitate actions of the operators in taking up these opportunities;
- Promote awareness, in both Europe and Asia, of instruments facilitating business cooperation;
- Assist companies from less developed Asian countries to enter into mutually beneficial cooperation with European companies.

The Asia-Invest Network:

Serviced by the Asia Invest Secretariat, this network ensures effective linkages and information exchange between Asia-based organisations like the European Business Information Centres (EBICs), the Technology Information Promotion System (TIPS), the Community's Technology Windows, other organisations in Asia and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Trade/Industrial Federations, Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies, Euro-Info-Centres, and other organizations with close links to companies in Europe. The network comprises the following components:

- Asia-Invest Antennae: hosted by private sector organizations in the EU Member States and Asia, their role is to promote Asia-Invest among target organizations;
- Extending the BC-NET/BRE networks into Asia;
- Asia-Invest Membership Scheme is open to organisations representing companies like the chambers of commerce, ensuring members are automatically informed of the programme's developments (newsletters, bulletins, etc). Members can access the Asia-Invest Bulletin Board – an electronic communication link – to facilitate networking and partnerships.

Asia-Invest support activities:

These activities are designed to increase the impact, efficiency, and levels of awareness of Commission-supported EU-Asia economic cooperation activities. These activities will include:
- Asia Branch Network Meetings, information exchange between EBICs, Technology Windows and other relevant actors;
- Seminars and information materials aimed at European and Asian operators wishing to do business in Asia or Europe;
- Newsletters and a website providing updates on developments and including draft and final work programmes.

By the end of the current five-year programming period, it is expected that the following will have been achieved:

- 500 strategic alliances between Asian and European companies (200 at mid-term);
- A minimum of 50 business round-table meetings (20 at mid-term);
- 100 activities under the Business Priming Fund.


Three components:

- Asia-Invest instruments:
. Business Priming Fund;
. Asia-INTERPRISE and Asia-Partenariat;
. Asia Investment Facility;

- Asia-Investment Network:
. Asia-Invest antennae;
. BC-NET/BRE support for Asia;
. Asia-Invest Membership scheme;

- Asia-Invest support activities:
. Seminars and information materials;
. Newsletter and website including the dissemination of the work programmes in their draft and final forms.

(More detailed information on these components can be found in the "General Information" and "Implementation" sections of this summary.)


The Commission, Directorate General 1B, is responsible for implementing the initiative. It is assisted by a Brussels-based Secretariat operating outside the Commission. Contact details are as follows:

Asia-Invest Secretariat
17 Rue Archimède
B-1000 Brussels - Belgium
Tel: +32 2 282 1750
Fax: +32 2 282 1760

Support is provided under the programme to groups of companies in the European Union and in the Asian partner countries (see "General Information" section) represented by chambers of commerce, trade associations or other representative bodies. As such, applications for support by individual companies are not considered. Calls for proposals for support under the programme are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities and on the Asia-Invest website. All applications for support must be directed to the Asia-Invest Secretariat in Brussels.

A budget of EUR 45 million has been allocated over 5 years for Asia-Invest actions. The following provides an indication of the types of support available.

Under the Business Priming Fund, the following types of support are available at the request of groups of companies represented by organizations such as chambers of commerce and trade/industrial organizations:

- Market-place monitoring: possibility of part-financing (up to 50% of eligible cost), up to a maximum of EUR 160,000, to provide short or long-term expert services to groups of European companies from at least two EU Member States to carry out research and monitoring activities related to markets, conditions for doing business, (non-EU) competitor analysis etc. in the Asian countries covered by the programme, and for the effective dissemination of findings;

- Language and business culture familiarization: funding (up to 50% of eligible cost) up to a maximum of EUR 60,000, to provide courses/seminars for groups of European and Asian companies. Requests from groups of companies from more than one Asian partner country or from more than one EU Member State will be particularly encouraged;

- Technical assistance: focuses mainly on groups of companies from the less developed Asian countries. This may cover technology transfer, "training of trainers", and private sector institution building. Depending on the level of development of the beneficiary country, part-financing (of between 50-80% of eligible cost) – up to a ceiling of EUR 120,000 per project - may be made available.

Asia-INTERPRISE and Asia Partnariat events:

Asia-INTERPRISE provides part-financing of sector specific business-to-business meetings to facilitate contacts between potential European and Asian partners. Based on the Interprise and Europartenariat schemes implemented by the European Commission for several years now, particular attention is given in the Asian context to opportunities for technology transfer and sub-contracting. For Interprise events, Asia-Invest may finance (up to 50% of eligible cost), up to a maximum EUR 100,000 to prepare, hold and follow-up business meetings. Roughly 10 events are foreseen per annum.

Asia Partenariat events are multi-sector business-to-business encounters and are generally held every year in an Asian country. Asia Partenariat events are agreed on the basis of a European Commission initiative or an expression of interest received from eligible countries.

Activities supported under the Asia Investment Facility include:

- Research, by country and by industrial sector, into investment opportunities for European economic operators in Asia (principally in the less developed countries), and the subsequent dissemination of findings through workshops and publications;

Steps are to be taken to ensure coordination between Asia-Invest and the European Communities Investment Partners (ECIP) financial instrument for the countries of Latin America, Asia, the Mediterranean region and South Africa. The ECIP financial instrument provides various types of support including the identification of projects and partners, the provision of expert advice on management and training and financial contributions to, and support for, the launch of joint ventures. Generally speaking, activities supported within the framework of Asia-Invest precede activities eligible for support under ECIP. The Commission will endeavour to make available information on ECIP Facility 1 actions "Grants for the identification of projects and partners" through the Asia-Invest programme.
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