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PM to depart for special Asean-Australia Summit

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his delegation will visit Australia from March 15-19 to attend the Asean-Australia Special Summit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.
The planned visit of the Lao premier is in response to an invitation from his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.
During the visit, Mr Thongloun is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with the Australian Prime Minister and attend the Laos-Australia Business Forum.
The summit will take place from March 17-18.  This will be the first time Australia has hosted a summit with Asean, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission said on its website.
The summit is an historic and unprecedented opportunity to strengthen Australia’s strategic partnership with Asean and deliver tangible economic and security benefits to Australia, the commission said.
“This summit provides an important forum to discuss how we can continue to make our region safer and more prosperous,” the statement added. The business elements of the summit, including the SME Conference, will help support Australian businesses with the know-how and connections needed to strengthen Australian economic partnerships with Asean, and a CEO forum will explore topics vital to deepening economic integration across the region.
These business events will support and culminate in the development of policy recommendations for the leaders at the Special Summit to bolster the Asean-Australian trade and investment relationship, according to the commission.
As a group, Asean is Australia’s third largest trading partner, representing around 15 percent of Australia’s total trade, according to the Australian government website.
Trade between Australia and Asean countries amounted to AUD$93.2 billion in 2016.
Australia welcomes more than one million visitors from Asean countries each year, while Australians made almost three million trips to Asean countries in 2016.
Australia is also the destination for a large number of students from Asean countries.
About 100,000 students from Asean countries are studying in Australia, and from 2014 to 2018 over 13,500 Australian undergraduate students are being supported to study and undertake internships in Asean countries through the New Colombo Plan. The region offers increasing opportunities, with deepening regional integration through Free Trade Agreements and stronger ties seeing significant prospects for business.
Australia became Asean’s first dialogue partner in 1974. In 2014, Australia and Asean formally became strategic partners, recognising the importance of the relationship in building mutual security and prosperity.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 12,

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