Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote regional further economic integration and growth through economic policy support to member governments and the ASEAN Secretariat.

The MOU on the Second Phase of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP II) was inked by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith and Thailand 's Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on July 23 in the Thai resort island of Phuket where the Australia-ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference was held.

This is Australia 's largest single programme of assistance to ASEAN and is valued at 57 million AUD over seven years, according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It reinforces Australia 's commitment to help the less developed ASEAN members to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.

By supporting strong economic policies with ASEAN, the programme complements the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), which will further promote trade between Australia and ASEAN.

The first phase of the programme, from 2002-2008, increased economic integration across the region, and increased economic and trade links with Australia and New Zealand . It also helped ASEAN tackle priority development challenges in science, technology and the environment by strengthening regional cooperation.

Two way trade investment between Australia and ASEAN was valued at over 88 billion AUD last year. ASEAN is a larger trading partner for Australia than any single country, accounting for 17 percent of Australia 's goods and services trade in 2007-2008.

ASEAN consists of Brunei , Burma , Cambodia , Indonesia , Laos , Malaysia , the Philippines , Singapore , Thailand , and Vietnam , with a combined population of 550 million./.