DPG Policy Brief

Australia-ASEAN Golden Jubilee Summit

Date: March 19, 2024
Australia commemorated the Golden Jubilee of Australia-ASEAN relations by hosting a special summit at Melbourne on March 6, 2024.  A Melbourne Declaration and a Leaders’ Vision Statement were adopted at the Summit, largely reiterating shared positions and thrust areas that have been pronounced earlier. Australia and Vietnam upgraded their relationship to the ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ level.  There was a spate of announcements from Australia on steps to increase developmental cooperation with ASEAN, as well as with Vietnam.  In terms of Australia-ASEAN economic relations, while trade has remained on the upswing. Australia’s investment in ASEAN has lagged, constituting just 3.3% of its total investment world-wide.  Moreover, the overwhelming majority of this investment is concentrated in Singapore and Malaysia.

Australia has, therefore, announced a new economic strategy for Southeast Asia.  The objective is to triple two-way trade by 2040, while an Investment Financing Facility of A$ 2 billion has been set up to incentivise Australian business investments in Southeast Asia.

The author concludes that while the Special Summit has marked some progress on enhancing economic relations, initiatives on the security front are lagging behind. With Australia’s security alliance with the US standing out in sharp contrast to the long held preference of Southeast Asian nations to assume primary responsibility for managing regional security and stability, this is only to be expected.

To read this DPG Policy Brief Volume IX, Issue 9, please click “Australia-ASEAN Golden Jubilee Summit”.