SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Sept 1 — Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) said the trade and investment between Asean, Australia and New Zealand is in positive growth.

The ministers welcomed the positive growth of trade “total merchandise trade in 2011 now stood at US$67.7 billion,” Surin said.

A statement from the Asean said against the backdrop of continued uncertainties in the global economy, the Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) and the Ministers of Australia and New Zealand (Closer Economic Relations – CER) underlined the importance of trade as a key driver in fostering growth and development in the region.

The ministers agreed that the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area provided a valuable springboard for trade growth and encouraged Parties to actively promote awareness of the opportunities under AANZFTA so that business is able to take fuller advantage of the benefits on offer. (ASEAN)