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Closer economic partnership talks with ASEAN Ministers.

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Media Release

Tuesday, 2 September 2003 - MVT69/2003

Closer Economic Partnership Talks With Asean Ministers

Trade Minister Mark Vaile will visit Cambodia from 3-4 September to attend the 8th annual consultations between Ministers from the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement (CER).

“Ministers will review progress of the AFTA-CER Closer Economic Partnership (CEP), including discussion of the WTO Doha Round, and consider an interim report on a joint AFTA-CER study of non-tariff measures and future trade policy directions within the region,” Mr Vaile said.

“Ministers will also hold discussions with representatives of the AFTA-CER Business Council to ensure business is engaged in defining the strategic direction of the CEP work program.

“The annual consultations provide a timely opportunity to encourage countries to achieve the high level of ambition for the World Trade Organisation round which we set for ourselves in Doha in November 2001. I will be encouraging ministers to engage fully in the discussions in Cancun the following week.

“I will emphasise to ministers the importance of an outcome to the Doha round that achieves real improvements in market access for both developing and developed countries, particularly in agriculture.”

During his visit, Mr Vaile will also hold bilateral discussions with a number of his ASEAN and regional ministerial counterparts including Mr Cham Prasidh of Cambodia, Mr Lu Fuyuan of China, Ms Rini Soewandi of Indonesia and Dr Adisai of Thailand.

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420