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Agri, energy and finance to broaden Asean-Australia trade

Publication Date : 03-06-2014

 

Agrifood, Islamic finance and energy security are three of the potential areas that could be explored to boost Asean-Australia trade, an academician said yesterday.

“I think agrifood, or food security, is an area which we can develop or work much more closely with the region, not just in the buying and selling of agricultural products, but also in terms of capacity building in countries like Cambodia or Laos,” said Dr Sally Percival Wood, an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Melbourne’s Deakin University.

As a trade bloc, Asean is already one of Australia’s key trading partners. But Wood said there are still other areas that these two trading partners can explore to bolster bilateral trade.

Wood said Australia can have a “larger footprint” in Asean when it comes to exploring other energy sources such as nuclear energy.

“I think Australia has become a little bit bogged down in traditional energy supply such as coal, whereas I think the (Asean) region is moving beyond that (to venture) into nuclear (energy),” she said.

Islamic finance is another area that can expand Asean-Australia trade, Wood said.

Wood said that Australia has already organised consultations and enquiries into having Islamic finance. But Australia has to reform its current current legal and institutional framework if it wants to adopt a syariah-compliant financial system.

“Islamic banking doesn’t (charge) interest, and interest is very much embedded in the way we (Australia) do business in financial matters, so we are just configured in a very different way,” she said.

Wood was at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam campus yesterday to speak about Australia’s relations with the Asean.

 

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