JAKARTA, 11 July 2017 – ASEAN and New Zealand reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen cooperation as strategic partners at the 5th ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting held yesterday at the ASEAN Secretariat.

The meeting highlighted the progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action 2016-2020 and agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest across the three ASEAN Community pillars as well as to support the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III.

New Zealand reiterated its support for ASEAN’s central role in the regional architecture and underscored the importance of multilateralism and a rules-based international order. ASEAN encouraged New Zealand to continue its active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.

ASEAN welcomed New Zealand’s two key strategies, namely the People Strategy and Prosperity Strategy and appreciated New Zealand’s increase in contribution to over NZD 200 million to support cooperation activities with ASEAN until June 2018. The initiatives include providing practical capacity building support to ASEAN Member States such as the Young Business Leaders Initiative, scholarship programmes, the English Language Trainings for Officials and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

ASEAN appreciated New Zealand’s valuable financial and technical assistance under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Support Programme, which has been extended to June 2018 with a possible further extension to be announced later. Both sides noted the commencement of the General Review of the AANZFTA to ensure the FTA remains relevant to businesses.

Noting the importance to promote stronger people-to-people connections and building greater awareness of ASEAN-New Zealand relations, the meeting noted the establishment of three Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence in New Zealand and welcomed New Zealand’s proposal to explore the possibility of an Air-Services Agreement with ASEAN to enhance air services linkages between ASEAN and New Zealand in the future.

In moving forward, both sides agreed to expand cooperation on priority areas of mutual interest, including defence, cyber security, connectivity, counter terrorism, Mirco, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) development, education and human resource development, renewable energy, food security, IUU Fishing, agriculture and disaster risk management, among others.

The meeting was co-chaired by Benny Siahaan, Director of ASEAN External Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia, and Ambassador of New Zealand to ASEAN Stephanie Lee. It was attended by the Permanent Representatives of ASEAN Member States or their representatives and the ASEAN Secretariat.