10:26 | 05/08/2016 Cooperation
The 21st Consultation Meeting between ASEAN Economic Ministers and Economic Ministers from Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations (ASEAN-CER 21) took place in Vientiane, Laos on August 4.
Delegates at the 19th consultation between ASEAN economic ministers and ministers from partner countries held in Vientiane, Laos on August 4 (Credit: VNA)
During the meeting, which was part of the ongoing 48th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings, participants focused their discussion on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025, affirming that this would help the AEC become an area with high competitiveness and close connection by 2025.
Officials agreed that the Blueprint has great potential for promoting trade and investment links between ASEAN and the two countries.
Australia and New Zealand officials stated that their countries are supporting the AEC through the implementation of the ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).
Ministers debated future orientations for the trilateral agreement, agreeing that an overall examination for this agreement can be carried out in 2017.
While applauding close co-operation among the three sides to facilitate the implementation of the first Protocol of amending the Agreement establishing the AANZFTA, ministers acknowledged the priorities of the AANZFTA are to foster and further deepen investment and trade connections among the parties.
Participants highlighted the significance of economic co-operation in the framework of the AANZFTA Economic Support Programme (AECSP), saying that it plays a crucial role in implementing the AANZFTA, especially in terms of rules of origin (ROO), service, investment, intellectual property and competition.
Trade value between ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand hit US$60.3 billion, accounting for 2.6% of ASEAN’s total trade turnover. Foreign direct investment (FDI) from Australia and New Zealand to the bloc reached US$7.4 billion last year, making up 6.2% of total FDI poured into ASEAN in the year.
Australia was ASEAN’s 7th largest trade partner in 2015 with two-way trade hitting US$51.8 billion. Meanwhile trade turnover between ASEAN and New Zealand was valued at US$8.5 billion in the period./.