1. The Fourteenth meeting of the ASEAN-Australia Forum was held in Canberra on 22-23 April 1991.
  2. The substantial and growing areas of cooperation between ASEAN and Australia were welcomed by the Minister of Overseas Trade and Development and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr. Neal Blewett, in opening the Forum.
  3. Dr. Blewett noted that, while trade, investment and economic cooperation continued to increase, cultural and people-to-people exchanges in areas such as the media, law, health and sport were increasing. ASEAN-Australia dialogue on issues such as Cambodia, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, refugees from Indo-China and environmental issues had also been productive.
  4. The private sector, represented by the ASEAN – Australian Business Council (AABC), participated in all aspects of the Forum. A significant feature on the agenda was the Joint Business-Government session where the market opportunities for ASEAN and Australian products in each other’s markets were examined.
  5. Both sides called for an increase in two-way trade and in Australian investment in ASEAN. The tariff reductions announced in the Australian Government’s March Economic Statement would contribute to an increased trade flow.
  6. The Forum’s theme of co-operation for mutual benefit was also demonstrated during the Workshops on the environment, education and science and technology and in the specialist group discussion on telecommunications.
  7. Australia is to send a fact-finding mission to all ASEAN member countries to determine the feasibility of the proposed education projects. This fact-finding mission will also examine funding issues related to implementation of the proposals.
  8. The Forum agreed that the Environment Workshop was a useful and timely initiative which added a new dimension to ASEAN-Australia Cooperation. Participants recognized the increasing significance of environmental issues for governments and endorsed the need for closer cooperation between ASEAN and Australia on environmental matters.
  9. In this context the Workshop discussed mechanisms for cooperation in the key areas of research and development, training and education and information exchange. It noted the important role which the private sector could play in resolving environmental problems.
  10. The Forum also endorsed the proposal that Australia should be closely involved in the activities of ASOEN (ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment) and recommended that the June meeting of ASOEN consider ways of achieving this.
  11. ASEAN and Australia representatives discussed ways of broadening science and technology collaboration. Both sides agreed that strong links between ASEAN and Australia were important to the future health of their research and development programs, and agreed to continue their dialogue.
  12. The specialist discussion on telecommunications policy agreed that a better understanding of the telecommunications policies of the various ASEAN countries and Australia will facilitate growth in trade of telecommunications services and goods. Greater liberalisation of telecommunications policy and regulatory arrangements will further assist this growth.
  13. ASEAN and Australia have agreed to exchange information on telecommunications policy and regulatory developments.