New Zealand High Commission Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The CER-ASEAN Integration Partnership Forum held its first seminar in Kuala Lumpur on 25 June.

Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria (Secretary-General of Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry) (left), Simon Murdoch (former CE of New Zealand's Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and former Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) (right), and HE David Taylor (Ambassador to ASEAN and to Indonesia) (centre), discuss the IPF.

CER and ASEAN are each advancing regional integration agendas and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard recognise that the Australia-New Zealand CER (Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement) experience – good and bad – might offer some useful insights for ASEAN as it tackles its own, highly ambitious, economic integration process.

Since CER was launched in 1983, the value of two-way merchandise trade has grown at an average annual rate of 8 percent. Integration has generated wealth and ever-deeper integration.

This is why both countries are keen to get around the table with ASEAN to discuss the CER journey and share lessons about Trans-Tasman integration.

The ASEAN Economic Community, like the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and CER, is fundamentally about trying to create an environment that makes it easier, more profitable and more predictable for companies to enter markets and do business. The CER-ASEAN Integration Partnership Forum is an exciting opportunity to discuss how we can do that most effectively, whether for New Zealand, Australian or Southeast Asian businesses.
Tim Groser, the New Zealand Trade Minister, noted that, “AANZFTA sent the message that Australia, New Zealand, and ASEAN members believe that regional economic integration is the best way to drive economic growth. This latest initiative takes that commitment and extends it further”.

The meeting on 25 June included presentations from senior figures in government, business, and academia from Australia and New Zealand. Three more seminars will be held over the next 18 months, allowing relevant experts to delve deeper into commercial regulatory issues of interest to ASEAN.

You can learn more about the Integration Partnership Forum at

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