SE Asia the next China boom: PM

By , 25/04/2020 19:35

Malcolm Turnbull will host talks with SE Asian leaders including Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc.Malcolm Turnbull is set to champion the untapped potential of South East Asia for n small business as he kicks off a special leaders summit in Sydney.

The prime minister is hosting leaders from the 10-country Association of South East Asian Nations.

The special summit begins on Friday with a business conference.

“The summit marks a coming of age of ‘s relationship with South East Asia,” Mr Turnbull said on Thursday.

He hopes the meeting can help unlock new opportunities for trade and investment, creating more jobs in and across the region.

Mr Turnbull is particularly keen to see n small businesses get a piece of the action amid a rapidly expanding middle class in the region.

By 2030 there will be an estimated 161 million middle class households.

This bodes well for quality n food and produce exports as well as expertise and services.

The region is expected to grow by at least 5.4 per cent for the next decade, significantly higher than the global average.

As a bloc, ASEAN countries make up ‘s third largest trading partner, worth almost $100 billion in 2016-2017.

Chief executive officers will also put their heads together on ways to increase economic links on Saturday.

With the 11-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact signed last week attention will shift to progressing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that includes the full ASEAN bloc.

Mr Turnbull will have a bilateral meeting on Friday with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after the pair dined together on Thursday night.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo will arrive on Friday and is expected to have dinner with Mr Turnbull at his Sydney harbourside home in the evening.

They had hoped to sign a free trade deal on the sidelines of the summit after failing to meet a deadline late last year.

However, negotiations are ongoing.

AAP understands 95 per cent of the deal has been finalised.

The remaining sticking points include whether n universities can set up campuses in Indonesia.

Discussions are also continuing around Indonesian workers such as nurses being granted visas to fill skills shortages in .

Mr Turnbull and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc upgraded diplomatic ties between their two countries on Thursday, ahead of the summit.

They signed a new strategic partnership aimed at deepening defence, security, trade, investment, development, education and tourism links.

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