Vietnam is now considered the most favourable place to expand business, surpassing Australia’s long-term business partners namely Malaysia and Singapore. (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)

Economist Gregory Earl from the Lowy Policy Institute said Vietnam, which was already Australia’s newest high priority in Asian economic diplomacy, may well be getting even more bilateral cooperation attention now after its standout performance in suppressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent tensions with China have made the Australian Government more focused on economic diplomatic activities with Southeast Asian countries despite the effects of COVID-19.

In a meeting with Australian businesses earlier this month, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the Australian Government now highly values the important ASEAN's roles in the regional economy and stability.

According to the survey, 47 percent of Australian businesses believed that the integration of ASEAN helps create good conditions for the business operation, while only 27 percent suppose it is not important. 

The ratio has steadily increased from 41 percent since the very first AustCham survey in 2017.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups 10 member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam./.