Officials attend the Forum on ASEAN in Auckland, New Zealand. (Source: VNA)

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become an increasingly important market to his country.

Speaking at the Forum on ASEAN held in Auckland on August 31 by the ASEAN - New Zealand Business Council ( ANZBC ) in collaboration with the Auckland University of Technology, Minister Groser reviewed ASEAN’s stages of development and recalled New Zealand’s vision of ASEAN as a potential area through the past four decades.

Minister Groser also pointed out the potential, advantages and priorities that New Zealand businesses need to tap into and promote in trade ties with ASEAN.

On behalf of ASEAN Ambassadors to New Zealand, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Viet Dung, chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Wellington, spoke highly of New Zealand’s relentless efforts to promote the understanding of ASEAN.

ASEAN is New Zealand’s third largest trade partner and fourth largest export market with a bilateral trade value of 11 billion USD in 2014.

ASEAN, which includes 10 member countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - has a population of roughly 650 million people, a gross domestic product of approximately 3 trillion USD and internal trade worth over 600 billion USD in 2014.-VNA