ASEAN is Australia's second largest trading partner. Attention to turn to investment

The Australian Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, has described the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement as a gold standard agreement.

"Tim Groser [New zealand Minister for Trade] and I have often reflected on the fact that Closer Economic Relations between Australia and New Zealand is a gold standard agreement. And the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement is a gold standard agreement. So I think that’s a source of great pride for everyone ... were able to negotiate an agreement that others can use as a model," he told the ASEAN Economic Ministers in Manado, Indonesia.

He observed that ASEAN is now "Australia’s second-largest trading partner, at 15% of our two-way trade" and said it was "worth comparing that with China, which is our largest trading partner, at 19%. So you can see that ASEAN as a group is a very important relationship."

He said ASEAN and Australia should turn attention to investment. "Australian investment in ASEAN countries is small. In the 21st Century we often talk about the value not only of trade but of investment and technical cooperation. And that’s a model that we should be thinking about when we talk about liberalisation in the future. It’s not just trade but it’s investment and technical cooperation where we can support each other."