1. The Sixth Meeting of the ASEAN-Australia Forum was held in Canberra on 14 and 15 April 1981 to review developments in ASEAN-Australia relations and to explore areas where ASEAN- Australia relations could be further intensified.
  2. The ASEAN Delegations were led by Mr. Atmono Suryo, Director-General, ASEAN- Indonesia; Mr. Mohd. Yusof Hitam, Director- General, ASEAN-Malaysia; Mr. Sime Hidalgo, Director-General, ASEAN-Philippines; Mr. Low Choon Ming, Singapore High Commissioner to Australia; and Mr. Vudhi Chuchom, Director- General, ASEAN-Thailand. The Australian Delegation was led by Mr. A.R. Parsons, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Narciso G. Reyes, Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, also attended the meeting.
  3. Mr. Mohd. Yusof Hitam, Leader of the Malaysian Delegation, was the Spokesman of the ASEAN Delegations.
  4. The Hon. Tony Street, M.P. Minister for Foreign Affairs, officially opened the meeting and welcomed the ASEAN Delegations on behalf of the Australian Government.
  5. In his opening address. the Foreign Minister reviewed ASEAN-Australia relations, in particular progress under the ASEAN-Australia Economic Cooperation Program (AAECP). He drew attention to the need for continuing efforts to broaden the relationship. He noted that the impact on the region of events in Indo-China and elsewhere formed an important backdrop to the meeting. He noted that ASEAN and Australia shared a common concern about the threat to regional stability posed by the continued Vietnamese occupation. of Kampuchea. He also drew attention to the problems created by Indo-Chinese refuges, outlining Australia’s efforts a major resettlement country and expressing appreciation of the humanitarian approach of the ASEAN countries which had provided first refuge to the refugees.
  6. The Forum considered and adopted the Second Report of the ASEAN-Australia Consultative Meeting (AACM), which had met on three occasions since the Fifth Forum Meeting in April 1980. It welcomed the agreement in principle to establish under the AACM a third Special Working Group – on Energy Cooperation. It agreed that the AACM had played a constructive role in providing continuity between Forum meetings and accordingly commended the AACM for its valuable contribution in facilitating the conduct of ASEAN-Australia relations.
  7. The Forum welcomed the progress that had been achieved in the Projects under the ASEAN- Australia Economic Cooperation Program (AAECP). Several of these projects related to the important food and agricultural sector, namely the ASEAN Food Handling Project, the ASEAN Protein Project and the ASEAN Food Waste Materials Project, and were developing in a complementary way. The Forum agreed in principle to a three-year extension to the Protein Project. It noted that this Project had made a valuable and practical contribution to the development of low-cost, protein-rich foods. It also welcomed the proposal for a Food Technology and Research Project to which ASEAN attached a high priority. This project aimed at improving the quality of life in ASEAN countries through improved processing, packaging and distribution.
  8. The Forum welcomed the significant progress made in the ASEAN-Australia joint Research Project, the objective of which is to establish a sound basis for the development of a long-term economic relationship between ASEAN and Australia.
  9. The Forum expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the ASEAN Education Project, the ASEAN Consumer Protection Project and the ASEAN Population Project.
  10. The Forum agreed on the value and importance of energy cooperation between Australia and ASEAN. it was agreed that detailed technical implementation of project propose would be carried out as soon as possible.
  11. The Forum looked forward to the development of project proposals for the conduct of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies in connection with possible ASEAN regional projects in industry, minerals and energy. The Australian delegation reaffirmed the undertaking given by the Australian Prime Minister in Kuala Lumpur in 1977 that, within the skills and resources available, Australia was willing to contribute to aspects of ASEAN regional industrial projects.
  12. The Forum agreed that Australia would organise a meeting between delegation heads of the ASEAN Committee on Industry, Minerals and Energy and leading Australian industrialists in Australia in 1982 to examine possibilities for joint venture projects on a regional basis.
  13. The Forum noted the continued increase in two-way trade between ASEAN and Australia in 1980. The reduction in ASEAN’s trade imbalance with Australia was also noted.
  14. ASEAN felt that in certain areas further action could be taken to improve their access to the Australian market. In this regard constructive discussions were held on the Australian System of Tariff Preferences, trade promotion and other measures of assistance to ASEAN.
  15. The Forum acknowledge that in introducing developing country preferences on most items of textiles, clothing and footwear the Australian Government had responded to ASEAN’s requests for liberalisation of trade in these items. However, it was too early to assess the impact of the decision on ASEAN’s exports to Australia.
  16. The Forum recognised the contribution made by the Trade and Investment Promotion Program under the AAECP and agreed on the desirability of holding a Third ASEAN Trade Fair in Australia.
  17. The Forum welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN-Australia Business Council and agreed that cooperation between the ASEAN and Australian private sectors is an important complement to cooperation at the Government level.
  18. The Forum noted the importance of the development of non governmental links between Australia and ASEAN countries. It noted the Australian Foreign Minister’s reference to such links in his opening address and welcomed the prospect of them being strengthened. In this context the Forum welcomed the continuing links between the Australian Parliament and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation.
  19. The ASEAN Delegations expressed sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Australia for the hospitality accorded them and the excellent arrangements made for the meeting.
  20. The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cordiality.