New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully is to represent the country in important talks on economic integration at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali, Indonesia, this week.
"The East Asia Summit is significantly expanding with both the United States and Russia attending the summit for the first time," said McCully in a statement Friday.
"An important issue being discussed is economic integration within East Asia. ASEAN members are interested in consolidating bilateral FTAs (free trade agreements) with existing partners, including New Zealand and Australia, into a wider agreement," said McCully.
"The summit will also discuss ways to improve disaster relief cooperation in the region and how to mobilize resources quickly and effectively at times of need."
The East Asia Summit was established in 2005 and comprises the 10 members of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and new members Russia and the United States.
McCully was representing New Zealand at the meeting on Friday and Saturday as Prime Minister John Key was unable to attend due to election commitments, said the statement, referring to the country's general election set for Nov. 26.
On Tuesday, Australia and New Zealand welcomed moves by Indonesia to be included in an Asia-Pacific free trade area.
Indonesia announced that it had completed domestic procedures to enable the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) to enter into force for Indonesia.
The AANZFTA is already in force for Australia, New Zealand and the other nine ASEAN member countries.
The AANZFTA was part of Australia and New Zealand's drive towards growth in trade through achieving more open markets and closer regional economic integration, said the statement.
Founded in 1967, the ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.