Australia's bilateral engagement with the countries of Southeast Asia is strengthened by our engagement with ASEAN, the region's premier representative grouping. Australia became the first of ASEAN's ten dialogue partners in 1974. We entered into a Strategic Partnership in 2014 and agreed to commence biennial leaders' summits in 2015, with the first of these held in Vientiane in November 2016. Learn some key facts about ASEAN in Why ASEAN matters: key facts.
In March 2018, Prime Minister Turnbull welcomed ASEAN Leaders to Sydney for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit. Learn more about Australia's engagement with ASEAN in Why ASEAN matters: our mutual cooperation.
Australia's economic and security interests remain inextricably linked with the countries of Southeast Asia. Australia and ASEAN signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to Counter International Terrorism at the Special Summit. Learn more about Australia's work with ASEAN to address common security challenges in Why ASEAN matters: our shared security.
In 2017, Australia's trade with ASEAN countries grew by 9 per cent over 2016 to reach $105 billion, which is greater than our two-way trade with Japan and the United States. Our strong trade links are supported by our regional and bilateral free trade agreements that act as pathways for Australian business to tap into ASEAN and the ASEAN Economic Community.
Found out more thanks to DFAT here: https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/regional-architecture/asean/Pages/association-of-southeast-asian-nations-asean