Trade Policy Development - Australia
The ASEAN–Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP II) is the primary vehicle for Australia's regional support for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). It supports ASEAN's priorities of advancing economic integration, increasing competitiveness and working to narrow the development gap among ASEAN member states. It focusses on: strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat's institutional capacity to effectively implement its mandate; providing timely and high quality economic research and policy advice on priority regional economic integration issues; and supporting regional mechanisms/ capacity for implementation of selected high priority AEC Blueprint activities.
The Pacific Agreement of Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus program provides assistance through trade negotiations, including the temporary movement of skilled persons leading to the improved access for Forum Island countries to markets and providing a basis for sustainable economic growth. Funding covers activities such as workshops, regional conferences and meetings, training for officials from Pacific island countries, Forum Secretariat-organised activities and programs with DFAT and other Australian Government Agencies.
The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP) assists developing ASEAN member states to implement their commitments under the AANZFTA and thus participate in the benefits of greater trade liberalisation and regional economic integration. The program funds an AANZFTA Support Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat and the delivery by that Unit of the Economic Cooperation Work Program activities.
Australia has worked with the World Bank and other donors to help Lao PDR undertake the necessary trade reforms to join and benefit from WTO membership. As part of the reforms, Laos reduced the clearance times for goods by non-customs agencies by 42 per cent (from 5 days in 2009 to 2.9 days in 2012). Building on these results, Lao also reduced the number of days to clear customs for imports by 69 per cent from 10.6 days in 2013 to 3.3 days in 2015. Export clearance times came down by 25 per cent from 7.5 days in 2013 to 5.6 days in 2015.