ASEAN and New Zealand commit to closer economic cooperation

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has pledged to strengthen its commercial and trade links with New Zealand.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has outlined the steps it will be taking to deepen its economic relationship with New Zealand.

New priorities for closer working were announced at the fourth ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee meeting, which was held on June 3rd at the ASEAN Secretariat. These will bring about better alignment in terms of political, security and trade links.

New Zealand has pledged to commit funding for projects such as the Young Business Leaders Initiative, scholarship programmes, the English Language Training for Officials scheme and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training programme, among others.

The ASEAN nations welcomed New Zealand's assistance provided through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Economic Cooperation Support Programme, which has been extended until June 2018 based on its success so far.

Both regions have agreed to expand cooperation on priority areas including defence and security, connectivity, counter terrorism, small business development, education, renewable energy, food security, agriculture, disaster risk management, environment and climate change.

The ASEAN bloc was formed in 1967 and counts Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam among its members.