1. The 20th ASEAN-Australia Forum was held on 16 September 2004 in Canberra, Australia.
  2. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Bill Paterson, First Assistant Secretary of the South and South-East Asia Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia and Mr Do Ngoc Son, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. Representatives of all ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong participated.
  3. The Forum noted that 2004 marked the 30th anniversary of ASEAN’s dialogue partnership with Australia, and that this had been among ASEAN’s very first such relationship. The Forum welcomed the breadth, extent and longstanding nature of the linkages between Australia and the ASEAN countries. Both sides reiterated the importance they attach to the continuos development of the closer and comprehensive relationship and cooperation.
  4. The Forum welcomed the decision to convene the ASEAN – Australia and New Zealand Commemorative Summit on 30 November during the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The Forum pledged to work closely with each other to ensure success of the Summit, acknowledging the depth and history of the ties between Australia and ASEAN and chart out a new strategic view to move forward the partnership to a higher plane which will be reflected in the Joint Declaration to be signed or adopted by their Leaders at the said Summit.
  5. Australia welcomed the agreement reached by the Economic Ministers at the Ninth annual AEM-CER Consultation in Jakarta on 5 September to recommend to their Leaders that ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand further their economic integration through negotiation on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). FTA negotiation would commence in 2005 and expected to be concluded in two years. Both sides agreed that the FTA would promote growth and development and increase living standards throughout the region.
  6. All parties recognised the important role trade liberalisation can play in promoting economic development and reducing poverty and reaffirmed their commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Development Agenda and to strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system promoted by the WTO. They welcomed the agreement reached in Geneva in August on a framework package to guide the next phase of Doha Round negotiations and reaffirmed the importance of a successful conclusion to the round that fully reflected the level of ambition agreed at Doha. Australia reiterated its strong support for the early accession by Laos and Viet Nam into the WTO.  
  7. ASEAN and Australia agreed to enhance coordination in APEC, particularly for the forthcoming APEC Leaders meeting. Both sides reiterated their strong support for work being undertaken in the APEC context and stressed the importance of free and open trade and investment in the region.
  8. The Forum agreed that more efforts should be undertaken to enhance the levels of trade, and investment in particular, between ASEAN and Australia. The Forum discussed conditions to promote greater Australian investment into ASEAN.
  9. The Forum noted the positive contribution of the ASEAN Australia Development Cooperation Program to economic development and poverty reduction in the region, as well as to the closer integration of ASEAN. The Forum recognised the contribution made by Australia through its development assistance programs to ASEAN in supporting the realisation of the ASEAN Vision 2020, Bali Concord II, the Hanoi Plan of Action (HPA) and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration. ASEAN welcomed Australia’s development cooperation commitment to countries in the ASEAN region which is estimated at over $400 million for 2004-2005. The Forum agreed that continued support of Australia in implementing the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), the successor to the HPA, will further reinforce this cooperative relationship.  
  10. The Forum agreed on the seriousness of the threat posed by terrorism to the security and prosperity of the region, and of the world in general. The Forum condemned unconditionally the vicious bomb attack outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on 9 September. The Forum expressed its sympathy to the Indonesian victims and their families who suffered in the attack and to those, both Australian and Indonesian, working within the Embassy. Both sides underlined the importance of sustained bilateral and multilateral cooperation in combating the scourge of terrorism. They welcomed the ASEAN-Australia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism signed in Jakarta on 1 July 2004, as well as a number of bilateral arrangements signed in recent years, and pledged to continue working closely together.
  11. The Forum had an extensive exchange of views on transnational crime and non-traditional security challenges facing the region, including people smuggling, narcotics, health, environment and communicable diseases, and agreed that combating transnational crime and non-traditional security matters was a shared responsibility. Both sides reiterated their commitment to cooperate with each other in these areas.
  12. Both sides welcomed the positive role of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in strengthening regional peace and stability and building confidence by promoting the habit of cooperation through dialogue and consultations among all the ARF participants. They reaffirmed the significance of the ARF as the primary forum for security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific. Australia reiterated its support for the key role ASEAN plays in the ARF process. ASEAN and Australia also underlined the importance of ASEAN’s efforts to establish the ASEAN Security Community (ASC).
  13. The two sides exchanged views on the accession by ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), and ASEAN’s desire for wider accession to the Treaty.
  14. It was agreed that the 21st ASEAN-Australia Forum would be held in Vietnam in early 2006.
  15. The ASEAN Delegations expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to the   Government of Australia for its hospitality and excellent arrangement extended to them during the 20th ASEAN-Australia Forum.