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Australia providing USD 1 million to boost regional integration

Australia will contribute USD 1 million to the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to strengthen research on regional economic integration.

The funding will focus on the Institute’s research into the important structural reforms needed to rebalance Asia’s growth away from exports and towards domestic demand.

In its May regional outlook, the International Monetary Fund highlighted Asia’s need to rebalance growth in order to return to pre-crisis growth rates.

The extra funding from Australia will also be used to support research into the regional benefits of the convergence of ASEAN’s Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Japan and Korea.

Trade Minister Simon Crean announced the new funding while in Singapore to attend the 21st annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting.

Mr Crean said Australia’s contribution to ERIA will help unlock the considerable trade potential of the East Asian region – a process which is critical to Australia’s continuing prosperity.

Research by the Institute on FTA convergence will inform regional consideration of moves towards the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) initiative, also known as ASEAN+6, and the proposed East Asia FTA.

ERIA was established by the East Asia Summit (EAS) in November 2007. ERIA conducts research in support of EAS initiatives, including deepening economic integration, narrowing development gaps and creating sustainable economic development.

The 21 APEC economies account for 56 per cent of world GDP and 44 per cent of world trade and are home to more than 2.7 billion people.

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