1. The Fifteenth Meeting of the ASEAN-Australia Forum was held in Bangkok on 19-20 January 1993.
  2. The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, in opening the Forum drew attention to the solidity of the ASEAN-Australia relationship, a constant factor in a rapidly changing world.
  3. The Acting Minister noted Australia’s role in Southeast Asia as an equal partner in both economic and political aspects. He reaffirmed ASEAN’s firm commitment to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and drew attention to the investment opportunities offered to Australian investors by AFTA.
  4. The Forum welcomed the continued strong growth and increasing maturity of ASEAN-Australia relations and the increased emphasis on cooperation for mutual benefit. It was noted that two-way trade continued to grow, reaching A$ 10.4 billion in 1991.
  5. The Forum welcomed a third phase of the ASEAN-Australia Economic Co-operation Programme, to which the Australian Government will commit $A 32 million over 4 years. This extension, commencing in July 1994, will provide further opportunity for scientific and technical cooperation between ASEAN and Australia, human resource development, and promotion of trade and investment links. Under the new phase, private sector firms in both ASEAN and Australia will be encouraged to participate. Areas of cooperation such as energy, telecommunications and information technology, biotechnology, the environment, transport and agro-based industries have been identified as potential areas of cooperation.
  6. Regional political and security issues were discussed for the first time at the Forum. ASEAN and Australia exchanged views on the evolving regional security dialogue in the post Cold War era and on developments in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
  7. The Forum also extensively discussed the Uruguay Round, APEC, AFTA, NAFTA and commodities issues. Despite some progress, the Forum expressed disappointment that a settlement of all elements of a final outcome of the Uruguay Round had not yet been reached.
  8. The private sector, represented by the ASEAN-Australia Business Council (AABC), participated in the Forum. The Joint Business-Government session provided opportunities for ASEAN and Australia to examine prospects for increased two-way trade and investment.
  9. A range of issues on trade and related matters were also considered, including the development of ASEAN-Australia trade and economic relations; Investment; and impediments to trade, specifically tariff and non-tariff barriers, anti-dumping and countervailing duties actions and Australia’s food Irnport inspection program. Representatives of the ASEAN-Australia Business Council participated actively in these discussions.
  10. On education and training, the Forum agreed to cooperate in the areas of regional language training, Institutional links, recognition of skills and qualifications as well as vocational and technical education. It agreed to pursue implementation of proposals in these areas at separate regional conferences proposed for 1993.
  11. On telecommunications, information was exchanged on a wide range of international, regional, and domestic telecommunications and radio communications developments. The Forum agreed that closer regional consultation and cooperation on these matters would produce greater benefits for ASEAN and Australia. Training proposals will also be developed to utilize funding available under the AAECP.
  12. Following the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro, the Forum agreed to further promote ASEAN-Australia cooperation in environment. For this purpose, ASEAN and Australia agreed to continue consultations to draft programs and projects on environment for inclusion in the AAECP Phase III.