The ASEAN-Australia Special Business Conference was co-chaired by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (R) and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Photo: VNA)

Sydney (VNA) – An ASEAN-Australia Special Business Conference was organised on March 16 in Sydney, New South Wales, within the framework of the on-going ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

The conference was co-chaired by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Addressing the event, Turnbull said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the world’s fifth largest market with an annual GDP growth rate expected to exceed 5 percent. This is a potential market for Australia, particularly after the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement was signed, he added.

The organisation of the conference proved that ASEAN and Australia are moving closer and sharing ideas, employments, and new technologies for mutual benefits, Turnbull said.

The Australian PM called on Asian leaders to promote expansion of trade alliance in the region, especially in the context of growing protectionism in the world.

Meanwhile, Lee underlined the close cooperation between ASEAN and Australia, saying that it created an impetus for the two sides to deepen their bilateral relations.

Lee affirmed that Singapore is ready to help Australia strengthen its linkage with ASEAN, thus bringing Southeast Asia closer to the world.

The ASEAN-Australia Special Business Conference included group meetings, with discussions focusing on the Southeast Asian market; ASEAN’s industrial potential, skills and technologies for the future; and Asian market connection, among others.

The event was expected to create an opportunity for leading businesses and big exporters from Southeast Asia to meet and share their experience and strategic visions with Australian firms, as well as seeking partners in Australia.-VNA