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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Economic Strategy

The Australian Government is developing a Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

The strategy will consider how emerging regional trends will change or transform Southeast Asian economies over the next two decades, and where Australia is best placed to respond to these emerging economic opportunities.

It will set out a pathway to strengthen Australia’s economic engagement with the region by mapping emerging trade and investment opportunities across key sectors in Southeast Asia and matching those with Australian capabilities. The strategy will also provide practical recommendations to bolster two-way trade and grow Australian investment in the region.

Recognising that collective cooperation and ambition is needed to face up to the challenge of climate change, the strategy will pay particular attention to how Australian businesses can support and contribute to the region’s energy transition and set it up for a more prosperous future.

Special Envoy for Southeast Asia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Mr Nicholas Moore as the Special Envoy for Southeast Asia in November 2022. Mr Moore has a strong record of achievement in the business and financial sectors in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Mr Moore was CEO of Macquarie Group for ten years and is current Chair of the Financial Regulator Assessment Authority. He is also a member (and former Chair) of the University of New South Wales’ Business School Advisory Council.

Mr Moore will lead consultations with business and other stakeholders in both Australia and Southeast Asia over the coming months to inform the strategy.

Why Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is home to a growing, youthful and dynamic cohort of markets. Australia’s two-way trade with the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is greater than that with Japan or the United States, passing $150 billion in financial year 2021-22.

Collectively, trade with ASEAN accounts for more than 14 per cent of Australia’s overall trade. The region is also a significant consumer of Australia’s energy, agricultural products, minerals and education.

These trends present an excellent opportunity to deepen our economic cooperation with Southeast Asian countries for our mutual benefit and a shared better future.

As the Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, observed in her special lecture in Singapore in July 2022, “in any match up of economic complementarity with growth potential, the greatest trade and economic opportunities for Australia over the next thirty years lie in the ASEAN region.”

Public consultation

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade welcomes submissions from interested individuals, businesses, government partners, multilateral and non-government organisations, research and academia, and other stakeholders to inform the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

In developing submissions, stakeholders are asked to consider the immediate challenges and longer-term trends in our region out to 2040.

Stakeholders may wish to consider the following questions:

  • What are the key trends affecting the depth or scale of your economic partnerships spanning Australia and Southeast Asia?
  • Where do you see the greatest opportunities to increase economic activity between Australia and Southeast Asia to 2040?
  • What are the risks and challenges facing you or your organisation as you consider increasing economic engagement with Southeast Asia?
  • Which sectors and countries are of greatest interest to you or your organisation and why?

Submissions and confidentiality

All submissions will be treated as public and may be published unless the author specifically requests that the submission, or part thereof, be handled in-confidence.

Submitters may request that all, or part, of a submission be treated as confidential. Confidential material should be clearly identifiable and be provided in a separate attachment to non-confidential material.

By making a submission, the author(s) agree to their submission, or part thereof, being used by the Commonwealth of Australia for Commonwealth purposes.

Written submissions of up to five pages in length must be received by 31 March 2023.



Director, Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 Secretariat
Office of Southeast Asia
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221

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