The ASEAN-Australia partnership is important to the region’s security and prosperity.
Since becoming ASEAN’s first dialogue partner in 1974, Australia has supported ASEAN’s vision of a rules-based, inclusive and economically integrated regional community. In 2013, the Australian Mission to ASEAN was established in Jakarta and is responsible for advancing Australia’s interest with ASEAN and ASEAN-led processes.
In 2014, Australia and ASEAN formally became strategic partners, recognising the importance of the relationship in building mutual security and prosperity.
Links between people and communities help underpin Australia’s partnership with Southeast Asia. According to the 2016 Australian census, over 896,000 people claimed heritage from ASEAN nations.
Australia welcomes more than one million visitors from ASEAN countries each year, and in 2016 Australians made almost three million trips to ASEAN countries.
Working with ASEAN complements Australia’s substantial bilateral relationships with the countries of Southeast Asia. Education is a cornerstone of Australia’s engagement with Southeast Asia and is supported by measures such as the New Colombo Plan and the Australia Awards.
Around 100,000 students from ASEAN countries are studying in Australia, and from 2014 to 2018 over 13,500 Australian undergraduate students are being supported to study and undertake internships in ASEAN countries through the New Colombo Plan.
ASEAN is one of Australia’s top three trading partners, representing around 15 per cent of Australia’s total trade. Trade between Australia and ASEAN countries amounted to AUD$93.2 billion in 2016. The region offers increasing opportunities, with deepening regional integration through Free Trade Agreements and stronger ties seeing significant prospects for business.
With a population of over 637 million and a burgeoning consumer class, ASEAN countries are poised for further growth.
Australia and ASEAN are working together to address important regional challenges, including:
- Improving the operating environment for our businesses – by removing barriers to trade through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and work toward progressing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
- Countering terrorism and violent extremism – by working together in bilateral and regional forums and implementing the ASEAN-Australia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism.
- Combatting people smuggling, trafficking in persons, and exploitation of migrant labour through the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP), and development cooperation programs to promote safe and legal migration and protection of women migrant workers.
- Promoting economic growth and tackling cross-border challenges in Southeast Asia through Australia’s regional aid program.
Australia's trade with ASEAN
Click on the image to view an interactive map of Australia's trade with ASEAN courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- The Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership
- Chairman's Statement of the First ASEAN Australia Biennial Summit, Vientiane 7 September 2016
- ASEAN-Australia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism, Vientiane 6-8 September 2016
- 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit Statement 12 November 2014