1. The 15th Consultations between the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the Ministers of Australia and New Zealand (Closer Economic Relations – CER) was held in Da Nang, Viet Nam on 26 August 2010. The Consultations was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam; the Honorable Mr. Tim Groser, Minister for Trade of New Zealand; and Mr. Bruce Gosper, Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand Trade and Investment Relations
2. The Ministers exchanged views on regional and global economic developments, including the global financial crisis. The Ministers noted that ASEAN trade with Australia and New Zealand declined in 2009 as compared to 2008, mainly brought about by the global financial/economic crisis that intensified in September 2008. The Ministers also noted that total trade value between ASEAN and Australia-New Zealand remained strong and has grown steadily over the last decade.
3. The Ministers noted that, despite the global financial crisis and the decline of global foreign investment flows, total level (or stock) of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Australia-New Zealand in ASEAN grew from USD 10 billion in 2008 to USD 14.9 billion in 2009.
ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand FTA
4. The Ministers welcomed the entry into force of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) on 1 January 2010. Noting that not all Parties have ratified the Agreement, the Ministers urged Parties concerned to expedite internal procedures and/or resolve any outstanding issues in order to have all Parties implementing the Agreement by 1 January 2011. The Ministers were pleased to note the notification of the Agreement to the WTO on 8 April 2010.
5. The Ministers noted the developments on the implementation of the AANZFTA following the entry into force of the Agreement. The Ministers welcomed the efforts of the FTA Joint Committee and its various Committees/Sub-Committees in carrying out the AANZFTA mandate, which include the built-in agendas and, importantly, the economic cooperation work program that would play a central role in ensuring AANZFTA commitments are implemented smoothly.
6. The Ministers were pleased to note the implementation of the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP), especially the endorsement of ten activities in several areas that include rules of origin, intellectual property, trade in services, investment and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The Ministers were confident that the AECSP and the Parties’ strategic approach to economic cooperation would help not only to ensure the smooth implementation of AANZFTA commitments but also to address regional development gaps to enable all Parties, especially the less developed ones, to take full advantage of the opportunities and benefits of the AANZFTA. The ASEAN Economic Ministers expressed their appreciation to Australia and New Zealand for the continued support given to ASEAN through the AECSP.
7. The Ministers welcomed the establishment of the AANZFTA Support Unit at the ASEAN Secretariat on 16 August 2010. The AANZFTA Support Unit will provide technical assistance and secretariat support to the AANZFTA Joint Committee and the Parties in implementing the Agreement.
8. The Ministers were particularly pleased to note the efforts of the FTA Joint Committee to promote the AANZFTA through joint public outreach activities, i.e. business advocacy workshops and business forums, publication of the “A Guide for ASEAN Business” and “Primer on Rules of Origin” and the development of the AANZFTA Website (http://aanzfta.asean.org), which would serve as a “one-stop-shop” for all information relating to the implementation of the AANZFTA.
9. The Ministers underscored the need to sustain the interest of the business sector on the AANZFTA and the importance of bringing them, especially small- and medium-enterprises, into the mainstream of the AANZFTA process. The Ministers encouraged the FTA Joint Committee to utilize every available opportunity to engage the business community in public outreach events.
LIST OF MINISTERS
1. Bruce Gosper, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia
2. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam
3. H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia
4. H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia
5. H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR
6. H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
7. H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar
8. Hon. Tim Groser, Minister of Trade, New Zealand
9. H.E. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines
10. H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore
11. H.E. Porntiva Nakasai, Minister of Commerce, Thailand
12. H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam
13. H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN