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Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Why ASEAN matters: our shared prosperity

Expanding our trade and investment will help secure our future prosperity. We have prepared a range of publications to help Australian business identify trade and investment opportunities with ASEAN.

The Australian Government's latest report, released in November 2017, for Australians interested in doing business in ASEAN is called 'ASEAN Now'. Watch Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, introduce the report.

Transcript of video. View video on DFAT's YouTube channel.

ASEAN Now - insights for Australian business.
A report on Australia's trade and investment relationship with ASEAN.

Read the Business Envoy.
DFAT's online magazine for Australian businesses, Business Envoy, featured ASEAN in its June 2018 edition.

The Business Summit Report to Leaders: outcomes and recommendations from the ASEAN-Australia Business Summit 2018.
This report summarises the key recommendations arising from discussions on shared opportunities for trade, investment and increased mutual understanding that took place at the Business Summit (held as part of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney on 16 and 17 March 2018). Over 120 of our region's business leaders, hundreds of Australian small-and-medium-sized enterprises and business experts attended this event.

The ASEAN region has immense economic potential and it is already a large market for Australian companies. Our $105 billion two-way trade with ASEAN exceeds our trade with our second and third largest trading partners Japan and the United States. More than 12,000 Australian businesses from all over the country export to ASEAN, many of them SMEs.

The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), complemented by our bilateral FTAs with Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, is a pathway for Australian business to tap into ASEAN.

At the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney, the Australian Government announced the ASEAN-Australia Digital Trade Standards joint initiative. The initiative provides a framework for Australia and ASEAN countries to cooperate in developing, adopting and using international standards that promote digital trade and support inclusive economic growth in the region. Australia and ASEAN countries are committed to ensuring our region can reap the full economic and social benefits of joining the digital economy. Read more about the Digital Trade Standards initiative.

A new ASEAN-Australia Infrastructure Skills Dialogue initiative announced at the Special Summit will bring together industry, government, vocational education and training representatives to discuss ways to address the skills challenges facing the region. Read more on the Special Summit webpage.

The Australian Government also announced three new initiatives to strengthen regional economic integration and infrastructure cooperation between ASEAN countries and Australia, and drive sustainable, open and inclusive regional economic growth. The ASEAN-Australia Infrastructure Cooperation initiative will develop a pipeline of high-quality infrastructure projects to attract private and public investment and improve regional connectivity. Read more on the Special Summit webpage.

Australia is also working with ASEAN towards a more stable and prosperous region. Over the next five years, Australia will help ASEAN develop cities across Southeast Asia in smart and sustainable ways. With a $30 million investment, Australia will provide training and technical assistance to build resilient and competitive communities, including through the development of an ASEAN Smart Cities Network. For more information, see the Special Summit webpage.

Learn more about our trade and investment with ASEAN in this ASEAN fact sheet [PDF].

Learn some key facts about why ASEAN matters.

Australia and ASEAN trade facts

  • $105 billion in two-way trade with ASEAN as a group in 2017, greater than with Japan and the United States
  • 5 of our top 15 export markets were ASEAN countries in 2017
  • 12% of Australia's exports went to ASEAN in 2017
  • 16% of Australia's imports came from ASEAN in 2017
  • Australia's exports to ASEAN grew by 14% from 2016 to 2017
  • Education-related travel was Australia's largest export to ASEAN as a group in 2017
  • Australia's largest goods export to ASEAN was wheat in 2017
  • $208 billion in two-way investment in 2017 – greater than China, Germany or New Zealand
  • $82 billion in two-way FDI between ASEAN and Australia in 2017
  • 12,000+ Australian businesses export to ASEAN

Source: Based on various ABS Catalogues.

Last Updated: 9 August 2018
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