PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4465


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/08/1977

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4465

Embargoed until 7.00 p. m. Broadcast: 33YHBA 1148 AAuugguusstt 11997777
F47/ 174
Relations between Australia and our South East Asian and Pacific
neighbours are continuing to grow in strength and quality. We
have common interests and common goals. In particular, we have
a common desire for economic and social stability and enduring
peace. The real worth of this relationship one that has developed
over the last three decades was demonstrated in Kuala.* Lumpur
last week. The Heads of Government of Japan, New Zealand and
Australia met with the leaders of the five ASEAN nations Malaysia,
Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. It was an
occasion of international significance. It was the first ever
meeting of its kind. The historic meeting achieved much. Common
problems were reviewed in a spirit of goodwill and understanding.
Problems were not brushed out of sight, but discussed frankly.
The whole tone of discussion was one of mutual concern and understanding,
and a desire to find reasonable solutions to problems
in a reasoned way. There was a sincere wish to work together
for the development of the region.
The meeting was particularly important for Australia. It provided
the right opportunity to demonstrate our condinuing commitment and
involvement in the affairs of this region. At the same time, it
gave ASEAN leaders a chance to hear at first hand Australia's
policies during our economic recovery.
Australia's commitment to ASEAN itself and to individual ASEAN
countries has never been stronger. Our commitment is on-going
and a basic part of the Government's foreign policy.
I believe we made this commitment clear to the Heads of Government
of ASEAN, through a number of significant initiatives that will
bring short and long-term benefits to every country within ASEAN.
I will briefly outline our key initiatives.
We decided to provide an additional $ 10 million to finance
development projects under the ASEAN-Australia Economic Co-operation
Programmes ( the original pledge of $ 5 million has now been fully
committed). We increased the level of aid to ASEAN member countries
by $ 90 million to $ 250 million. / The

The Government shortly will discuss with each member country
details of the particular project they wish to develop. This
money will provide a great opportunity for economic and industrial
activity within each country. While the money itself is important
for each country, the way in which it is being made available is,
I believe, just as important. The money is being made available
as a committed sum which, of course, allows the countries to
undertake long-term planning. We have also decided to give more
of this grant aid in an untied form. This means that each country
will be able to make greater use of local materials and equipment.
It will certainly assist development of local industry.
ASEAN countries were, of course, keen to increase their share of
trade with us. We proposed that ASEAN conduct an annual trade
fair in Australia to assist in the promotion and marketing of their
goods and services. I explained that there were opportunities
particularly in clothing and textiles to capture a greater share
of our import market. As it stands now, ASEAN countries competing
against Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China have only 10% of that
trade. In the three years up to and including 1975-76, ASEAN
countries had gained a total of $ 60.2 million of our import market
in clothing and textiles. This compares with a total figure of
$ 649 million for the other four countries. This trade fair would
help ASEAN compete with the other countries in the region for a
greater share of the market in these and other areas.
Australia also agreed to sponsor an ASEAN/ Australia Investment
Seminar and to meet the cost of a joint ASEAN/ Australia Research
Project. one of the most significant initiatives to come from the meeting
was our proposal that a consultative mechanism should be set up
as an ' early warning' signal on trade and other problems. The
Foreign Minister, Mr. Peacock, and the Foreign Ministers from the
five ASEAN nations, will put up detailed proposals as to how this
consultation process will work in practice, at the earliest
opportunity. This initiative which will provide substantial
opportunities for consultation both to Australia and to the five
ASEAN nations was warmly accepted and welcomed by ASEAN leaders
and officials. The meeting with ASEAN leaders also cleared the
air in relation to Australian exports there. As a result of a
direct request from me, the Malaysian Trade Minister, in the
presence of the Malaysian Prime Minister, told me that special
discriminatory measures against Australia had been lifted. This
is good news for Australian exporters.
The discus-sions we held with other leaders and Japan in particular
on a ntumber of important issues, will also lead to continuing and
mutually rewarding relationships between our countries. Much of
the discussion with Japan's Prime Minister concerned the questions
of beef. I made it clear that the present arrangements of negotiating
beef quotas every six months hindered the beef industry's
ability to operate properly as it is an industry which has to
plan on a long-term basis. / I

I suggested that our officials should work together to devise
a system which would better serve the needs of stability. The
Japanese Prime Minister agreed, and we shall shortly be sending
a team of officials to Japan who will be arguing for stability
of access.
Overall, the historic eight-nation meeting has cemented the
common bonds that exist between us. It has paved the way for
a continued strengthening of our relationship on all levels, and
it has certainly provided a renewal of confidence in the ability
of the region to progress and develop.

Transcript 4465