JAKARTA, 3 July 2015 – ASEAN and New Zealand will redouble efforts to bring their long-standing and comprehensive partnership to a new height. This commitment was made at the 3rd ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting held yesterday at the ASEAN Secretariat.

Highlighting ASEAN as one of the most important partners in promoting regional peace and stability, H.E. Stephanie Lee, Ambassador of New Zealand to ASEAN, reiterated New Zealand’s strong commitment to further deepen the political-security ties with ASEAN and give the partnership a stronger strategic focus. She pledged New Zealand’s continued active participation in regional mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), and the East Asia Summit (EAS), as well as its support for ASEAN Centrality in the regional security architecture.

ASEAN appreciated New Zealand’s valuable support and assistance for ASEAN Community building efforts over the past years, which to a large extent has been realised through the implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive Partnership Plan of Action (POA) for 2010-2015. Both sides agreed to accelerate efforts to implement the remaining measures in the POA and work towards finalising a new and forward-looking action plan that reflects the goals and priorities of ASEAN and New Zealand in the next five years (2016-2020).

Several areas of future collaboration were given emphasis during the Meeting, including maritime cooperation, combatting transnational crime, small-and-medium enterprise (SME) development, education and vocational training, geothermal and renewable energy, food security, water security, agricultural development, connectivity, environment, climate change and disaster management.

The Meeting further welcomed the success of New Zealand’s four Flagship Initiatives that have helped build capacity for ASEAN Member States in the areas of agriculture, education (scholarship), youth entrepreneurship and disaster risk reduction. Both sides agreed to work together for the continuation of these programmes in the post-2015 period, focusing on areas where New Zealand has strong expertise such as agricultural trade and business leadership.

Economic cooperation is a key agenda of the ASEAN-New Zealand relationship. Both sides expressed their strong determination to ensure the effective implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Agreement, now in its 5th year, and to work together on next year’s review of the Agreement that aims to further reduce non-tariff barriers to trade. They also committed to join efforts with other FTA partners to conclude the negotiations of a high quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year.

As the ASEAN-New Zealand partnership is entering its 40th year, a number of commemorative activities including the ASEAN-New Zealand 40th Anniversary Awards have been carried out to mark this important milestone. The two sides also looked forward to the Commemorative Summit to be convened in November 2015 in Malaysia where the Leaders will review the progress of the partnership over the past 40 years and chart the future strategic course of the ASEAN-New Zealand dialogue relations.

The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Latsamy Keomany, Permanent Representative of Lao PDR to ASEAN, and Ambassador Lee.

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Link to ASEAN-New Zealand 40th Anniversary Awards website: www.nzasean40.com