19
March

 Leaders from 10 ASEAN member countries and Australia attended a plenary session of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018 held in Sydney on Sunday ( 18 March )

"Over the past 50 years, ASEAN has used its influence to defuse tension, build peace, encourage economic cooperation and support to maintain the rule of law," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in his opening remarks.

He said the day of the Summit`s plenary session is a historic day, as the leaders of ASEAN and Australia come together for the first time in Australia, working together determining their commitment to the centrality of ASEAN and the commitment of Australia to ASEAN which is at the very heart of the stability, prosperity, security of the region. The meeting comes at a critical time for the region. The pace and scale of change is without any precedent in human history, he added.

"Our vision is optimistic and born of ambition, it`s for a neighbourhood that is defined by open markets and the free flow of goods, services, capital and ideas," the Australian leader said.

Australia is fully committed to backing ASEAN as the strategic convenor of the region, Turnbull stated.

"A region where adherence to rules delivers lasting peace, where the rights of all states are respected, where open markets facilitate the free flow of trade, capital and ideas. And where the rule of law protects all nations. And to quote your Chairman`s father `if you want to have a region where the big fish do not eat the little fish, and the little the shrimps.` You want a region where everybody regardless of their size is respected in their sovereignty and their ability to determine their own course," Turnbull added. The events of the past week have shown how vibrant and dynamic the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership is, he said.

"Our business leaders are driving economic growth and creating jobs and opportunities and we`ll hear from them shortly, our security and law enforcement agencies are keeping us safe from terrorism and other threats and working more closely together than ever and of course our students, our communities our educational, cultural and sporting institutions are engaging with and learning from each other to our mutual benefit," he said.

Meanwhile, Singapore`s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his speech reiterated how important it was for the region to redouble its resolve to pursue trade liberalisation and regional economic integration.

"This is especially crucial as global mood is shifting against international trade and globalisation. The US has imposed tariffs on solar panels, aluminium and steel, and are contemplating further, more dramatic measures," he said. "These steps could easily lead to tit-for-tat responses and a trade war. This will be very harmful to ASEAN economies, as well as Australia`s, because we are all highly dependent on international trade," he noted.

Lee also called on ASEAN and Australia to work closer on cybersecurity issues, which range from Internet crimes to fake news. He noted that cybercrimes are a transboundary problem that is difficult to police.

"It can have a drastic impact on our populations, for example in terms of critical infrastructure; and it can be insidious - undermining the trust which holds our societies together, for example through fake news," Lee added

The plenary session also discussed regional security threats including those from North Korea. Themed "Enhancing Regional Security and Prosperity", the three-day ASEAN-Australia Special Summit discussed issues related to regional security, economic relations as well as counter-terrorism measures so as to further tighten the relationship between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The leaders who attended the plenary were Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Myanmar`s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, and Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines. ( antara )

18
March

Indonesia and Australia have encouraged Indo-Pacific regional stability during their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018 on Saturday.

"At the bilateral meeting, the two leaders warmly welcomed the plan of action for maritime cooperation and hoped that it could be implemented soon. They also hoped the discussion on communication and consultation on the concept of Indo-Pacific could be realized to create stability in the Indo-Pacific region," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.


The bilateral meeting also serves as a conclusion of 2+2 meeting between foreign ministers and defense ministers of the two countries held the day before.


"In addition, we also discussed Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Although it has almost been completed, the negotiations have reached more than 90 percent, and several things still have to be discussed with Australia," she remarked.


Negotiations between trade ministers of the two countries will be held next month.


"Based on the report from the trade minister, he will meet again (with his Australian counterpart) in April to settle the remaining issues. Hopefully, the two countries will reach an agreement by the end of this year," she asserted.


At the meeting, the two countries also agreed to the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation in implementing the agreement.


"The first principle that must be agreed upon is that the CEPA must benefit both THE countries. The second principle is that CEPA is not only a commercial project but also a project of partnership and cooperation.


The third agenda of the bilateral meeting is digital Indonesia-Australia digital cooperation. (ANTARA)

18
March

Indonesia, Australia Foster Economic Ties

Written by
Published in News
Read 343 times

Indonesia and Australia continued to foster their economic ties in the face of shifting of the economic center from the Atlantic to the Pacific region.


Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who is on a visit to Sydney to attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018, used the opportunity to have a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday.


On the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, the Indonesian president addressed a CEO forum at the International Convention Center, Sydney, which was also attended by Turnbull.


At the bilateral meeting, Jokowi and Turnbull discussed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA). The last negotiation on IA-CEPA was conducted on March 6 and 7.


"There is progress, but it has not yet been fully achieved; the final result of the negotiations should ensure benefits for the two countries not only from the commercial aspect but also with emphasis on partnership and cooperation," Jokowi remarked.

The president also expected Australia to respond positively to various proposals for cooperation. "The cooperation includes work and holiday visas; higher education and vocational training; professional standards; industrial and agricultural development, including livestock; as well as apprenticeship programs for both students and professionals," he added.


The third bilateral issue discussed was the follow-up of the "Indonesia-Australia Digital Conference."

The follow-ups include improving the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), startups in developing digital innovations; developing Next Indonesia Unicorn; increasing digital literacy; and smart government initiatives to improve public services.


The meeting, which started at around 11:00 local time, discussed a number of issues, which are results of a 2 + 2 meeting held on Friday (March 16) between ministers of foreign affairs and defense ministers of both countries.


"I hope the signing of a maritime cooperation action plan can be implemented soon, and the two foreign ministers have also exchanged ideas on the concept of Indo-Pacific region architecture," the president stated.


After all, according to Jokowi, the global economic center has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific region. "All of us know that currently the gravitation center has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific region. The highest trade value is in the Asia Pacific region," Jokowi revealed, addressing a group of business leader at the International Convention Center, Sydney, on Saturday.


"Who are they in the Asia Pacific? Certainly, there are Asia and India, and other South Asian countries; Middle East to the west of US; China, Korea, and Japan in the north; and Australia in the south. There are 10 member countries of ASEAN blessed with geographical position right in the middle of the gravitation," the Indonesian president revealed.

In the meantime, Turnbull praised Jokowi as an important role model. Turnbull heaped praises on the visiting Indonesian leader as a role model in guarding the spirit of diversity.

"Jokowi has succeeded in developing multi-culturalism, and this is also being developed in Australia. We are united by political values, democratic freedom, and mutual respect," Turnbull stated.


He asserted that in the past 40 years, the Pacific region has recorded economic growth, and there were no signs of slowing down."The IMF predicted that in five years, six of ASEAN members would grow faster than China, and all ASEAN members would grow faster than the United States and the European Union," he explained.



Turnbull and Jokowi were businessmen before becoming politicians; therefore, they could see the importance of companies, and the government could adopt a policy and issue regulation to support business expansion.


Moreover, according to Jokowi, amid the shifting of the economic center to the Pacific region, the number of middle-class people in the region is also on the rise. "There is significant growth in the middle class in Asia and Asia Pacific. For the time being, we must ignore the number of political issues carried in the front pages of newspapers, because the most important fundamental and historic development currently happening in the world is the growth of the middle class, which is continuing to increase in Southeast Asia," he revealed.


Jokowi underlined the growth of the middle class in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia as the economic power in the regions.


"The middle class and the youngsters are more interested in experiencing adventure rather than luxury goods. That is what has made tourism industry grow," he remarked.


Quoting Bloomberg data, he stated that the world`s economy only grows three percent a year, but the tourism industry has grown seven percent. Bloomberg predicts one of the four new jobs in the next 10 years to come from the tourism industry.


"Again, 25 percent of new jobs in the world will come from the tourism sector. This is an extraordinary opportunity for ASEAN and Australia to not only promote tourist destinations for the middle-class people in China and India but also to develop it as a big market for domestic tourism industry," he revealed.


Jokowi arrived in Sydney on Friday to attend the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, which will be held from March 16 to 18. (ANTARA)

18
March

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has underlined the growth of the middle class in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia as the economic power in the regions.


"There is significant growth in the middle class in Asia and Asia Pacific. For the time being, we must ignore the number of political issues carried in the front pages of newspapers, because the most important fundamental and historic development currently happening in the world is the growth of the middle class, which is continuing to increase in Southeast Asia," he said, in the presence of company leaders and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the CEO Forum of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit at International Convention Center, Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.

"There is one important thing that differs in the current cycle of growth of the middle class this time, which is digital economic development, in particular social media," he stated.

Digital economy and social media, according to Jokowi, have brought fundamental changes in consumption pattern.

"The middle class and the youngsters are more interested in experiencing adventure rather than luxury goods. That is what has made tourism industry grow," he remarked.

Quoting Bloomberg data, he stated that the world`s economy only grows three percent a year, but the tourism industry has grown seven percent. Bloomberg predicts one of the four new jobs in the next 10 years to come from the tourism industry.

"Again, 25 percent of new jobs in the world will come from the tourism sector. This is an extraordinary opportunity for ASEAN and Australia to not only promote tourist destinations for the middle class in China and India but also develop it as a big market for domestic tourism industry," he revealed.

Australia can be one of the tourist destinations for development of tourism industry in Asia.

"Several years ago, when the price of commodities fell, Australia had stated, `let us change the explosion of mining into an explosion of dining`. I have said let us move the explosion of dining to ASEAN," he explained.

Moreover, he added that ASEAN was just investing a lot in infrastructure development, such as airport, seaport, and railway development, and some ASEAN member countries have even started developing fast train system for the first time.

"This is an opportunity for Australian business players. ASEAN also needs to create big capital markets such as capital market for dollar and Euro zone. This is a big opportunity for Australian banks and financial industry. Unless it is taken, other financial companies will certainly take it," he elaborated.

Jokowi urged Australian businessmen to do business in ASEAN, especially Indonesia.
"Now is perhaps a colorful time, in the midst of current global and local political situation, but it also offers an encouraging moment to improve the relations between ASEAN and Australia in the fields of trade, tourism, and investment. I welcome you to ASEAN and Indonesia," he noted.

Sharing Jokowi`s view, Turnbull pointed out that the middle class in Indonesia would grow many folds by 2030, opening more opportunities in investment and trade.

"However, the governments and businessmen must remain committed to rules that have been agreed upon for free and open trade, as opening a market may not happen by itself but needs support and commitment from business and governments. Therefore, I invite all of you to assure that the rules are honored in the region," he stressed. (ANTARA)