South East Asia
Our relationship with South East Asia
South East Asian countries make up one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. It's a region of growing economic importance to New Zealand.
New Zealand's involvement in South East Asia rose sharply after World War II with defence connections and the education-focused Colombo Plan, designed to strengthen the economic and social development of member countries. The relationship now includes areas as diverse as science, technology, tourism, education and agricultural cooperation.
New Zealand’s formal connections with South East Asian countries include our work with regional organisations such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM+), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) as well as international organisations such as the United Nations, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
ASEAN is a political and economic community of 10 South East Asian nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. It is a very important partner to New Zealand. New Zealand’s Mission to ASEAN was formally opened in 2015, appointing an Ambassador to Jakarta, the seat of the ASEAN Secretariat. Indonesia is our current ASEAN Dialogue Partner. Singapore is the Chair of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit in 2018.
In 2009, New Zealand and Australia signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN (AANZFTA), and in 2013 the New Zealand Government launched the New Zealand Inc Strategy for ASEAN. This aims to coordinate efforts across New Zealand government, business and the wider community as we engage with these nations.
Goods trade with South East Asia accounts for 10% of our exports and 14% of our imports - a combined value of $11.43 billion in the year to March 2017.
The services market is also flourishing, particularly in education and tourism. In the year to March 2017, more than 190,000 ASEAN tourists visited New Zealand, making it one of New Zealand's larger tourism markets. Between 2015 and 2016, visitor numbers increased 48% from Malaysia, 19% from Singapore, and 51% from Indonesia. There were more than 12,700 ASEAN students in New Zealand in 2016.
Trade agreements and negotiations
We have two regional free trade agreements:
We're also negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes the 10 ASEAN countries and six countries including New Zealand that have FTAs with ASEAN: Australia, China, India, Japan and Korea.
Our aid partnerships in Asia reflect New Zealand’s strengths in agriculture, education and disaster resilience. The New Zealand Aid Programme gives country-specific support to Indonesia, Myanmar and Timor-Leste, and supports regional initiatives in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. These include the Mekong Institute, the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, the Mekong River Commission (external link), and ASEAN-led initiatives such as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre.
Under the New Zealand Aid Programme Strategic Plan 2015-19, New Zealand will invest $200 million in ASEAN over the next three years.
|Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur||Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam|
|Philippines, Manila||Republic of the Philippines|
|Singapore||Singapore and Republic of Maldives|
|Thailand, Bangkok||Thailand, Cambodia and Laos|
|Viet Nam, Ha Noi
News & Events
The New Zealand Embassy is pleased to announce humanitarian aid to communities in Central Vietnam affected by severe flooding and landslides.
Joint Statement by the COVAX Friends of the Facility, supporting fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
Joint Statement from the New Zealand and Viet Nam Prime Ministers on the strengthening of the New Zealand and Viet Nam bilateral relationship.