1. Economic Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia and New Zealand (Closer Economic Relations – CER) met on 4 August 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR for the Twenty-first AEM-CER Consultations. The Consultations were co-chaired by H.E. Mrs Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR; the Honourable Steven Ciobo, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia; and the Honourable Todd McClay, Minister of Trade of New Zealand.

2. Following the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, a major milestone in progressing the region’s integration and bringing this to greater heights, the Ministers of ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand discussed the new AEC Blueprint 2025, which envisages an AEC by 2025 that is highly integrated and cohesive; competitive, innovative and dynamic; with enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; a more resilient, inclusive, and people-oriented, people-centered community; and integrated with the global economy. Australia and New Zealand are supporting the AEC in practical ways, including through the implementation of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) and its economic cooperation support program.

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