Sydney (VNA) – The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade held a ceremony in Sydney on June 20 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Australia and the Philippines.

A press release of the department quoted its Secretary Peter Varghese as saying that the event offered a chance for both sides to look back on their strong and time-honoured relationship built on shared values, including a commitment to democracy, regional security and prosperity, and the rule of law.

It was also an opportunity to showcase the diversity of Australian expertise and innovation, highlight trade and investment opportunities, and deepen people-to-people links between the two nations.

The Philippines is a growing trading partner of Australia, with strong people-to-people and education links and a rapid growth in the number of Australian companies operating in the Philippines.

The two countries hold much potential to increase two-way trade and investment flows over the coming years which will exceed 3.9 billion AUD (2.8 billion USD) in 2014-15.

The opening of Australia’s Consulate-General in Manila on May 22, 1946 marked the official beginning of the relationship. Today, the number of Filipinos living in Australia is fast approaching 300,000 with the Philippines the fourth largest source of migrants in Australia.-VNA