Australia to host ASEAN special summit in 2018

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CANBERRA, Feb. 23 (PNA/Xinhua) — Australia is expected to host the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-Australia Special Summit in 2018, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Thursday in a statement.

It will be the first time that Australia hosts an ASEAN summit of any kind.

In a joint statement with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the prime minister confirmed that Sydney has bee chosen as the host city to the event, to be held in March 2018.

“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 statement said.

As a group, ASEAN is one of Australia’s top trading partners. In the financial year of 2015-16, Australia’s total trade with ASEAN countries amounted to 92.9 billion AU dollars (71 billion U.S. dollars), more than with Japan, the European Union or the United States.

“This summit provides an important forum to discuss how we can continue to make our region safer and more prosperous,” the statement said.

The centrepiece of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit will be the Leaders’ Summit and Retreat. There will also be two major side-events: A Business Summit which will bring together leaders of industry and Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to unlock new opportunities for job-creation, investment and enterprise; and a Counter-Terrorism Conference that will underscore global leadership and collective regional action to combat terrorism.

The Australian governments expect that the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit will create an enormous economic opportunity for Sydney, increasing visitor numbers to the city for the critical global forum.

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