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40th Anniversary of Australia's relationship with ASEAN
21 February 2014
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the Philippines’ Secretary for Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario yesterday officially launched the 40thanniversary of Australia’s partnership with ASEAN this year in Manila (the Philippines is Australia’s current ASEAN country coordinator). They unveiled the anniversary logo and were especially joined by the ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and the Myanmar Ambassador to the Philippines HE U Ye Myint Aung as representative of the current ASEAN Chair to mark the occasion.
“Australia’s relationship with ASEAN has grown from a modest officials’ meeting in Canberra on 16 April 1974 to one in which our cooperation is as deep as it is broad, covering trade, security, education, development, disaster relief and other areas”, Ms Bishop said.
The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) is delivering real commercial benefits for Australian exporters and investors. Australia's two-way trade in goods and services with ASEAN countries totalled around A$92 billion in 2012-13.
“Our partnership prospers because of a shared commitment to fundamental freedoms and prosperity. It prospers because we share ASEAN’s desire ‘to live in a region of lasting peace, security and stability, sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and social progress’”, she said.
ASEAN sits at the heart of the dynamic Indo-Pacific Asia with a population of more than 600 million and an economy of $2.4 trillion. ASEAN is strengthening the regional integration agenda through the ASEAN Community and its position at the centre of regional architecture, especially the East Asia Summit (EAS).
Ms Bishop said “Australia wants to work with ASEAN to develop the EAS to help manage the challenges facing our region. We want to build on our shared ambitions, including through work to implement AANZFTA, to conclude RCEP and to connect our people through the New Colombo Plan”.
A program of commemorative events will take place during the year in Australia and South-East Asia in collaboration with ASEAN and with the support of the government and the non-government sectors. The 40th anniversary will culminate in an ASEAN-Australia leaders' summit at the EAS in Nai Pyi Taw.