Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Our strong relations with ASEAN are based on our shared history, growing trade, development and security interests and our close geographic location.
Home to 625 million people, ASEAN is a very important partner for New Zealand. We have a thriving trade relationship with ASEAN and it is one of New Zealand’s most significant source of foreign students, tourists and migrants. Today there's a vibrant community of around 80,000 people of South East Asian origin living in New Zealand.
In 2014, we appointed a dedicated Ambassador to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, reflecting the growing ties between New Zealand and ASEAN.
In 2015 we celebrated 40 years of our formal relationship with ASEAN. New Zealand became a dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1975. Since then the areas of cooperation and mutual interest have grown and we’ve built a solid partnership. We have high ambitions for the future of this relationship - the ASEAN NZ Inc Strategy sets out our plan to work towards greater levels of engagement, integration and cooperation.
New Zealand – ASEAN trade and economic ties have gone from strength to strength over this period. In 1975 two-way trade between ASEAN and New Zealand was worth US$133 million. This represents just a week’s worth of our trade today - last year's total trade with ASEAN was close to nearly $12 billion. The ASEAN - Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which came into force in 2010 provides a strong foundation to continue our close economic partnership.
A commemorative summit marking the 40 years was held in Kuala Lumpur in November as the finale to the year’s celebrations. Several other events were held throughout the year, including the visit of the ASEAN Secretary-General, an ASEAN Youth Voices event, media familiarisation visits and AANZFTA workshops. We celebrated the anniversary in a number of ways – an important part of this was the ASEAN 40 Awards.
ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership for 2010-2015
Signed in Hanoi in 2010, this declaration is a significant milestone in our relationship that aims to strengthen our political, security, economic and social relationships. Discussions are underway for the next plan of action post 2015.
Read the Joint Declaration document
We're an active member of several ASEAN-centred forums including:
East Asia Summit
New Zealand is a founding member of this regional leaders’ forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security, economic and social issues of common concern. The East Asia Summit (EAS) comprises the 10 ASEAN countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
New Zealand plays an active role in the EAS, including in disaster relief capacity-building, regulatory good practice, and counter-radicalisation initiatives.
ASEAN Regional Forum
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) includes the 10 ASEAN members and 17 other countries in the region, including New Zealand. Foreign Ministers attend the annual ARF Ministerial Meeting, which is a valuable opportunity for consultation on regional security and political issues, and on global matters that affect the region. The ARF’s priorities include: confidence-building and preventive diplomacy, counter-terrorism and transnational crime, disaster relief, maritime security, and disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons.
ARF is important to the region’s security and therefore our security. New Zealand’s participation is particularly focused on preventive diplomacy, ship profiling for maritime security, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons, countering illicit drugs and disaster response
ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus
New Zealand is a founding member of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), a group of Defence Ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partners. ADMM-Plus pursues security and defence cooperation in six areas: maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster management, peacekeeping operations, military medicine, and humanitarian mine action.
New Zealand and Brunei currently co-chair the ADMM-Plus Expert Working Group on maritime security.
The ASEAN-CER Integration Partnership Forum
The ASEAN-CER Integration Partnership Forum, or “IPF”, is a collaboration between the governments of New Zealand and Australia.
Five forums have been held to date.