Mumbai: Australia will back a proposal to bring
together the 10-member ASEAN, Japan, China, India, South
Korea, New Zealand and Australia in a larger 16-nation
prime minister John Howard, attending the second South
East Asia summit at the resort island of Cebu in The
Philippines, said. The meeting aims at giving a boost
to trade flows among Asean and its Asian neighbors like
Japan, China, India, South Korea and New Zealand.
will also push its application for permanent membership
in ASEAN, analysts said.
which includes Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore,
Brunei, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and
Vietnam, has a population of 558 million and a combined
gross domestic product of $833 billion. Nearly 15 per
cent of Australia''s exports are to the ASEAN countries,
government figures show.
agreement on tariffs and subsidies with ASEAN would
be a big boon to Australian traders, analysts said,
adding that it would offer significant benefits on the
security front as well.
Trade among ASEAN nations exceeds $1 trillion.
ministers had earlier objected to Howard attending the
2005 inaugural meeting of the East Asia summit after
remarks that he would be prepared to order a pre-emptive
strike on another country to stop a terrorist attack
wants South East Asian nations to form a joint anti-terrorism
task force. Australia and Indonesia have worked together
investigating terrorist attacks in Indonesian that have
killed more than 240 people. Bombings on the tourist
island of Bali killed 202, including 88 Australians,
first East Asia Summit in Malaysia that ended on December
14, 2005, failed to arrive at an agreement on an Asian
trade alliance similar to the European Union.
economic ministers agreed on August 24 to study a Japanese
proposal for a 16-nation free-trade area, covering 3
people and economic output of $9 trillion. China, meanwhile,
had proposed the setting up of an economic bloc of only
Asean, China, Japan and South Korea.