Image via Wikipediaregional economic summits.
The focus of the two-day visit will be to build on the momentum created by the signing in February of the Australia-New Zealand-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).Mr Crean will also hold bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma.AANZFTA is set to come into force no later than January 1, 2010, and is the largest FTA Australia has ever signed covering a region that is home to 600 million people and with an annual GDP of US.7 trillion.Mr Crean said the signing of AANZFTA was an historic milestone in Australian trade policy and it was now time for action.
“We need to take the next step by bringing the agreement into force and making it work for exporters commercially and administratively,” he said.“I will be reinforcing with my counterpart Ministers from ASEAN and New Zealand the importance of working together over coming weeks to ensure that all of our internal systems and procedures are ready for the smooth entry into force of AANZFTA.“The agreement is an important platform for deeper economic integration in the region,” he said.In Bangkok on Saturday, Mr Crean will attend the annual ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) - Closer Economic Relations (CER) consultations and also the meeting of East Asia Summit (EAS) Economic Ministers.The AEM-CER is the annual meeting of all ASEAN trade ministers with their Australian and New Zealand counterparts and will focus on the implementation of
Image via WikipediaAANZFTA.The second meeting, which is a gathering of economic ministers from EAS countries (consisting of all ten ASEAN countries plus China, India, Korea, Australia, Japan and New Zealand), will discuss the possibility of a future EAS-wide free trade agreement, called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership of East Asia (CEPEA) and also known as ASEAN + 6.“Now that ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements with each of its EAS partners, the logical next step is to consider a multilateral agreement involving all EAS countries,” Mr Crean said.
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