ASEAN Secretariat, 13 June 2008
ASEAN and Australia commit to advance cooperation in economic integration with the launch of the second phase of ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme (AADCP-II) today. Under the program, Australia will provide A$57 million to ASEAN over the next seven years to support greater economic integration in the region.
Prime Minister of Australia Mr Kevin Rudd said the new program underscored Australia’s commitment to engaging with ASEAN.
“Australia is committed to supporting ASEAN’s efforts to establish an economic community by 2015 and economic integration is an important step in that process,” Mr Rudd said during the launch of the program at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.
“Australia is in a unique position to provide this support,” Mr Rudd said. “We have had the longest partnership with ASEAN, dating back to the 1970s, and we will be the first partner to work within ASEAN Secretariat systems to implement this type of program.”
Under AADCP-II, Australia will provide high-level policy advice, research and implementation support to assist ASEAN to harmonise standards, eliminate tariffs and reduce non-tariff barriers to trade. Australia will also work with the new Member States to assist them to harness the benefits of broad-based economic growth.
Mr Rudd is the first Head of Government of a Dialogue Partner country of ASEAN to visit the ASEAN Secretariat. “The ASEAN Secretariat is honoured by the visit of Prime Minister Rudd and welcomes the assistance from Australia in enhancing our economic integration, which will serve as the catalyst for community building efforts in ASEAN as well as ASEAN's role in fostering a wider community in East Asia,” Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan said.
“The innovative approach of Australia to work within ASEAN Secretariat systems, making ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat as key stakeholders of the cooperation, will help ASEAN drive the assistance to the most pressing areas with a view to addressing the gaps in integration, especially in the areas of trade liberalisation and facilitation, and narrowing of development gaps. This will certainly support the goal of market integration in ASEAN,” he said.
The Second Phase of AADCP will be executed in close partnership between the ASEAN Secretariat and Australia. It will target 12 priority sectors which account for more than 50 per cent of ASEAN’s trade in goods and services, including tourism, textiles and apparel, and fisheries.
|ASEAN Secretary-General's Welcoming Speech on the Occasion of the Visit of the Hon. Kevin Michael Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, to ASEAN Secretariat |
Jakarta, 13 June 2008
ASEAN Secretary-General's Welcoming Speech on the Occasion of the Visit of the Hon. Kevin Michael Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, to ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, 13 June 2008
The Honorable Kevin Michael Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia,
Excellencies the Ambassadors of ASEAN,
Excellencies the Ambassadors of the Dialogue Partner Countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr. Prime Minister,
ASEAN welcomes your courteous gesture towards us by your historic visit to our Secretariat today.
Historic, because Your Excellency's is the first ever visit, working or official, by the head of government of a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.
This symbolizes beyond words Your Excellency's commitment to fostering closer ties and cooperation between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), whose Ambassadors are here in full force to welcome Your Excellency and your Delegation.
Your Excellency follows a long tradition of friendship forged between Australia and ASEAN that your predecessors have started way back in 1974, when Australia became the first Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. Since then, together, ASEAN and Australia have joined forces in charting the course of the entire region of Asia-Pacific.
Subsequently we have more Dialogue Partners from all corners of the world, whose Ambassadors are here too in this ASEAN Hall to honor your historic visit.
On a personal note, Mr. Prime Minister, I am thrilled and grateful that a whisper of good will on my part, when we shared a dinner table in Sydney last March, inviting you, during your official visit to the Republic of Indonesia, to grace us with your presence here at the ASEAN Secretariat. And to see it turning into a reality today, it is a moment of pride and encouragement, indeed.
But our bond of friendship was struck long before that, if you would recall, Mr. Prime Minister. In June 2002, we attended a Coolum Dialogue together. And you personally led me through the Noosa National Park on Noosa Beach, north of your constituency of Griffith, in Brisbane, Queensland.
And you told me you were born in a nearby community called Nambour, where you went to high school.
Who would have thought, that little walking tour on the white sands of Noosa Beach could have turned into a foundation for closer relations between ASEAN and Australia....?
It is, you would agree, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, a finest example of personal diplomacy serving a higher cause of the entire region.
You are now dreaming bigger dreams, scaling another awe inspiring height, swimming a wider ocean of hope and vision for a larger Asia-Pacific Community.
We welcome your new vision. We want to know more about it.
We want to help you construct that Community of a wider expanse with the existing institutions serving as its foundation.
We hope that you will accommodate us--ASEAN--in that grand vision of yours, recognizing our traditional role and contributions to the many architectures of cooperation existing today in East Asia.
Australia has always been a catalyst and a strong pillar of those regional architectures of cooperation and prosperity in the past.
We in ASEAN welcome your strong enthusiasm to collaborate with us.
Today, by your historic visit, your launching of the Second Phase of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme (AADCP) demonstrate your commitment to ASEAN, your desire to walk with us...hand in hand...to a brighter and more prosperous and more secure future of East Asia.
There is a Sanskrit proverb, Mr. Prime Minister, and I wish I could quote you a Chinese proverb, but I cannot. But a Sanskrit proverb that says:
"Walk Together, Talk together,
Oh Ye People of the Earth,
Then, and Only Then,
Thou Shall Have Peace."
And may I add: Only Then, Thou Shall Have Shared Prosperity too.
Mr. Prime Minister,
And Thank You for your gesture of friendship towards ASEAN today."