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Australia announces new strategy to boost trade with Southeast Asia

In a joint statement on Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday announced a new strategy to boost trade with Southeast Asia.

Albanese, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Trade Minister Don Farrell released the joint statement announcing Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, reports Xinhua news agency.

The blueprint, which was developed by Special Envoy for Southeast Asia Nicholas Moore, sets out how Australia will boost trade links with the region and makes 75 recommendations to grow partnerships with Asian nations.

It identified 10 priority sectors offering the most potential for economic growth, including agriculture and food, infrastructure, healthcare and education and skills.

The joint statement said the government has committed A$95.4 million ($60.8 million) in funding to support investment deal teams based in the region, a Southeast Asia business exchange program and placement and internship programs for young professionals.

“Southeast Asia’s fast-growing economies present a major opportunity for Australian business, but we haven’t kept pace with their exponential growth,” Albanese said.

“This strategy outlines how we can harness this growth, and seize the vast trade and investment opportunities our region presents.”

According to the strategy, Australia’s two-way trade with Southeast Asian countries was worth A$178 billion in 2022.

It also calls on the government to cut foreign investment barriers, fast-track visas and expand air links with Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

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