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AIBCnews - Issue 165: March 2018

This month Sydney played host to visiting ASEAN Leaders for the historic ASEAN-Australia Special Summit. This major event has made a clear statement about the importance of ASEAN and its constituent nations to Australia, and has cemented Australia’s position alongside our ASEAN neighbours. The Joint Statement of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit: The Sydney Declaration can be read here.

For us, President Jokowi’s support for Australia to be admitted to ASEAN, is a reassuring sign of the strength of our relationship, and the personal bond between our respective Leaders. Whilst there are many barriers to such a move in the short term, it is something to ponder for the future.

Also, the commitment expressed by our Leaders for the conclusion of IA-CEPA is encouraging, although there are yet to be clear signs shown that some of the remaining issues are being resolved. Several, including Trade Minister Ciobo, are hopeful of conclusion this year, which of course will be dominated by the lead-up to Indonesia’s 2019 Presidential election.

Prime Minister Turnbull with President Jokowi at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit

(Pic: Dep’t of Prime Minister & Cabinet)

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