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July 2, 2024

President's Newsletter, June 2024

Authored by
DEFA Policy Retreat 2024
July 2, 2024

Dear members, 
Summer is here, and the US-ASEAN Business Council is in full swing, delivering high impact programming and advocacy for our member companies! 

On June 5, the Council co-organized the US-ASEAN Digital Economy Policy Retreat for ASEAN trade officials negotiating the Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) in Bangkok in partnership with the Thailand Ministry of Commerce (Chair of the DEFA Negotiating Committee). The retreat, the first in a series of Council activities that are part of a 2024 special project on the DEFA, provided a platform for member companies and think-tank experts from various sectors to share recommendations and best practices with the DEFA negotiators. In addition to a networking dinner, the retreat included panel discussions focused on three key areas - Digital Payment Connectivity, Data Governance and Cybersecurity, and Digital Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies (AI) - aiming to support the negotiators in making DEFA a high-quality, interoperable, and commercially meaningful agreement. The 2024 DEFA special project is supported by AWS, Google, Citi, Chubb, SAP, Stripe, Mastercard, Qualcomm International Inc., and Visa. The policy retreat also engaged with Nextrade Group, Tech for Good Institute, and MITRE as knowledge partners for the sessions.

DEFA Policy Retreat 2024

On June 11, the Council hosted a Luncheon with ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn to celebrate his inaugural working visit to Washington DC, also featuring Senator Tammy Duckworth and Ambassador Yohannes Abraham. At the lunch, Secretary Kao noted the U.S. private sector as being at the forefront of US-ASEAN relations and suggested numerous proposals for deeper cooperation between the Council and ASEAN, including a public-private partnership on emerging technologies and expanded business matching.  The Council will work with the U.S. Mission to ASEAN and other stakeholders to implement these proposals.

luncheon in honor of Secretary-General of ASEAN Dr. Kao Kim Hourn

On June 21, we engaged with Culture Minister and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong at an in-person roundtable in Washington DC, marking the Council’s first engagement with a member of Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s cabinet. A testament to the Council’s commitment to reinforcing relationships with political office holders and a demonstration of the strength of U.S.-Singapore business ties, this event was an exchange with a familiar face for some of our members, who first met with Minister Tong when he was Senior Minister of State for Health during the 2019 Singapore Business Mission.

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Internally, the Council has transitioned to a new IT system that will empower our members to more easily manage their subscriptions, contacts, event registrations, billing, and more. Watch for upcoming training emails from the Council's membership team this summer to help you navigate and utilize these new features!
On June 27, the Council hosted a roundtable at The Asia Group's (TAG) Washington D.C. office, featuring guest speaker Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Global Markets Pamela Phan. The discussion covered key topics including recent developments in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines (VIP). Participants reviewed the outcomes of the Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (PTIM) in March, the Philippines-Japan-US Trilateral Summit in April, and the Clean Economy Investor Forum (part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity) in June.  They discussed the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Luzon Economic Corridor, and shared key takeaways from the Select USA Summit. The event highlighted the strategic importance of deepening economic ties and the potential for private sector engagement with the region. Following the roundtable, the Council and TAG hosted a packed networking happy hour for the Council's member companies, ASEAN Embassy officials, and thought leaders. This was our second networking event that is part of our broader effort to highlight the importance of Southeast Asia in the Washington DC policy community.

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You’ll find more information about our other June activities in the following pages, as well as information about upcoming events, US government delegations to the region, and relevant administrative matters.
Best regards,

Month in Review

On the sidelines of the 11th ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Dialogue in Jakarta, the Council held a roundtable with ASEAN Digital Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADGSOM) leaders, regional and national AI representatives, regulators, and policymakers in collaboration with USAID and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. Members shared industry best practices and insights related to emerging AI use that support the advancement of responsible and trustworthy AI, featuring keynote presentations by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google.

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From June 5-6, the Council led a delegation to participate in the 33rd Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. During the plenary session, the delegation presented a comprehensive recommendation paper titled “ASEAN Customs Reform to Advance Regional Supply Chain Resilience,” which highlighted reforms necessary to enhance supply chain resilience and e-commerce across the region.  The delegation actively engaged in a series of bilateral meetings with customs and trade officials from various ASEAN member states focused on reaffirming U.S. businesses’ commitment to strengthening the region’s supply chain infrastructure and improving the investment landscape. Through these interactions, our delegation underscored the importance of collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors in driving supply chain resilience for economic growth and stability throughout ASEAN.
On June 6, the Council hosted outgoing Ambassador to Timor-Leste Donna Ann Welton to discuss challenges and opportunities for U.S. businesses in and around Dili.  As Timor-Leste looks towards ASEAN accession and continues to diversify and develop economically, Ambassador Welton is positioned to be an invaluable partner in the region who is willing to work with our member companies to advance these objectives. 
On June 7, the Council held an Indonesia-focused executive briefing on “Dialogue on the Transition towards 2024-2029" with Hashim Djojohadikusumo, esteemed advisor of the Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka campaign team (and brother of the President-elect). The event fostered open dialogue around Indonesia’s political and economic landscape post-2024 election and the offered insight into the vision and priorities of the future government, highlighting challenges and opportunities in digital economy, health and life sciences, food and agriculture, and energy and mineral resources, among other sectors. It also created an opportunity for American businesses to reiterate their interest in future collaborations to advance the country’s economic growth. This event was made possible by the support of ExxonMobil, BP, Qualcomm, Google, and Philip Morris International.

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On June 11, our Aerospace, Defense and Security (ADS) Committee hosted an informal networking event at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Lockheed Martin.  The event brought together member companies, ASEAN defense attachés and embassy personnel, and representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of State, National Security Council, and Congressional staffers. The next networking event is scheduled for October 1, 2024.
On June 12, the Council hosted an energy and sustainability discussion with Deputy Assistant Secretary Kimberly Harrington at the Department of State Bureau of Energy Resources office, featuring a Q&A session that covered a variety of themes surrounding energy transition and energy security.  DAS Harrington used the opportunity to engage with U.S. private sector stakeholders before traveling to Vientiane to meet with relevant Lao Ministries and the ASEAN Senior Officials meeting on Energy. She provided an analytical update on the U.S. Government's positioning as an energy and critical minerals development partner in the region and discussed venues for collaboration with Laos as both a regional renewable energy leader and the holder of the ASEAN Chairmanship this year.

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On June 13, the Council issued a press release in support of the outcomes of the IPEF Ministerial in Singapore, led by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.  The full release can be accessed here.
On June 24, Mainland Deputy Director Jack Myint and USABCI President Maggie Hanson-Muse hosted a reception for the SelectUSA Delegation from Myanmar. Guests of honor included former Ambassador Derek Mitchell and Deputy Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service James Golsen.
On June 26, the Council hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper, featuring Vu Tu Thanh, our Deputy Regional Managing Director and Vietnam Chief Representative.  Members received the latest insights into Vietnam’s economic and political landscape while participating in a lively discussion about opportunities and challenges in the U.S.-Vietnam relationship and their implications for American business.

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On Thursday, June 27, the US-ASEAN Business Council and The Asia Group (TAG) hosted a memorable happy hour and networking session at TAG's Washington D.C. office rooftop. The event featured a toast from Deputy Assistant Secretary Pamela Phan and provided a unique opportunity for members to connect with leaders from the ASEAN think tank community, U.S. officials covering Southeast Asia, and ASEAN embassy representatives. Guests enjoyed a selection of drinks and authentic Southeast Asian snacks, fostering an engaging atmosphere for meaningful discussions and networking.

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The Council plans to host additional networking opportunities for our members later this year. Please reach out to Andrew Koch at Andrew Koch at akoch@usasean.org with any questions.

Delegations and Envoys

From May 29 to June 6, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Singapore for the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, where he spoke at the opening plenary session of a “new convergence” in the Indo-Pacific and held bilateral meetings. Afterwards, he traveled to Cambodia to discuss the resumption of military cooperation. The visit marked Secretary Austin’s 10th trip to the Indo-Pacific.
From June 3-6, USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo also traveled to Singapore. Negotiator McKalip met with the Singapore Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Gabriel Lim to review ongoing bilateral efforts and discuss opportunities to deepen the United States—Singapore trade relationship, while Secretary Raimondo met with Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) ministers, attended the 2024 U.S.-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation Ministerial Meeting, hosted the Clean Economy Investor Forum, and met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong.
From June 6 to 8, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink traveled to Vientiane, Laos to meet senior Laos officials and participate in the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials’ Meetings.
On June 11 Secretary of State Antony Blinken had meetings with Indonesian President-Elect Subianto and Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamad Hasan while traveling to Jordan.
From June 21-22, Assistant Secretary Daniel Kritenbrink traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to underscore the strong U.S. commitment to implementing the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and to working with Vietnam in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  His visit followed that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Upcoming Events
Please find the latest version of the Council's 2024 Events Calendar here.

From June 4-5, the Council will lead its annual mission to the 33rd Meeting of the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs in Phu Quoc, Vietnam.  This will provide members an opportunity to engage with ASEAN Customs officials, and to provide feedback on the harmonization of trade rules and regulatory barriers in the on-going negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).  Although early bird registration has closed, regular registration is still open. For more information, please contact msuwandhi@usasean.org  or aortega@usasean.org.   

On June 4, the Council will convene a roundtable dialogue in Jakarta with support from the U.S. State Department Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy to provide share industry insights, best practices, and use cases with members of the ASEAN AI Working Group and to help advance responsible, trustworthy AI.  

As one of the Council’s special project initiatives this year, on June 5, the Council will co-organize a policy retreat with the Government of Thailand on the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) in Bangkok with the Thailand Ministry of Commerce (which chairs the Negotiating Committee) on the sidelines of the 4th DEFA Negotiating Committee Meeting and the 25th ASEAN Coordinating Committee on E-Commerce and Digital Economy (ACCECD). The retreat will be followed by additional USABC led workshops for ASEAN negotiators on topics of mutual interest including digital payment connectivity, data governance and cybersecurity, and emerging tech (AI). 

On June 7, the Council will organize an Exclusive Briefing with Mr. Hashim Djojohadikusumo, a key member of the Prabowo-Gibran Campaign Team’s Advisory Board and the younger brother of President-elect Prabowo Subianto.  Titled “Dialogue on the Transition towards 2024 – 2029,” the briefing will be held at the Fairmont Hotel in Jakarta and is part of the Council’s efforts to provide opportunities for members to hear internal insights on the future administration’s policy priorities directly from those involved.  For more information, please contact Utami Nugraheni at utami@usasean.org.  

On June 11, the Council will host a luncheon in honor of His Excellency Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, the 15th Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This is a unique opportunity to directly engage with the Secretary General during his first official working visit to the United States for meetings with senior members of the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress. This luncheon will serve as the sole private sector engagement on his official schedule, and all ASEAN Ambassadors and Chiefs of Missions in Washington, D.C., will be invited to join. For more information, please contact Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org

Also on June 11, the Council’s Aerospace, Defense & Security Committee will host an informal network event at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C.  This event will bring together representatives from our member companies, the ASEAN Defense Attaches to the United States, and colleagues from the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Commerce, National Security Council, and other U.S. Government offices and agencies focused on Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and explore new opportunities for collaboration.  For more information, please contact Chuck Casey at ccasey@usasean.org

On June 27, the Asia Group (TAG) and the Council will co-host a happy hour in Washington, D.C., featuring briefings on the U.S. Presidential debates by senior representatives from the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and followed by a casual networking event with ASEAN Embassy staff, USG officials, think tank representatives, and private sector counterparts.  For more information, please contact Andrew Koch at akoch@usasean.org.  

From July 8-12, the Council will organize our annual flagship ASEAN Ambassadors’ Tour to Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Tour will promote greater awareness of the political and economic significance of the U.S.-ASEAN relationship and the dynamic relationships among the ASEAN member states through visits to member facilities and engagements with local stakeholders, including governments, academics, and trade associations.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For more information, please contact Ploy Vivatanapaiboonlap at pimploy@usasean.org

On July 9-11, the Council will hold its first-ever Thailand Travel Industry Dialogue and Sustainable Tourism SME Workshop in Bangkok to engage the key stakeholders who comprise Thailand’s travel and tourism ecosystem.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For more information, please contact Ploy Vivatanapaiboonlap at pimploy@usasean.org and Bella Salsabi at safifa@usasean.org.   

On July 16, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, the Council will organize a Roundtable Discussion and Reception on the margins of the inaugural U.S.-Philippines Cyber-Digital Dialogue. The Philippines delegation will be led by Secretary Ivan John E. Uy of the Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), while Deputy Assistant Secretary Steve Lang of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy will also attend. For more information, please contactd Maya Crowden at mcrowden@usasean.org.   

Also in July, the Council will conduct Food and Agriculture industry missions to Thailand and Vietnam to advance sustainable food and agriculture practices, with proposed workshops alongside the formal meetings with government officials and key stakeholders. Engagements will focus on priority topics of animal health development, food nutrition, livestock, plant science, supply chains, and trade facilitation.  For more information, please contact Angga Antagia at aantagia@usasean.org

From July 20 to August 22, President & CEO Ambassador Osius will travel to Singapore to engage in regional meetings and missions, while Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director Ambassador McFeeters will travel to Washington D.C. from July 20 to August 13.    

From July 23-25, the Council will lead our annual Business Mission to Singapore. The registration portal can be found by accessing the US-ABC Business Mission Manager. For more information, please contact Angelica Ortega in Washington, D.C. at aortega@usasean.org or Jileen Yong in Singapore at jyong@usasean.org 

In August, the Council will host a 40th anniversary Gala and convene our 2024 Board of Directors meeting, both in Singapore.  For more information about the Gala please contact Sarah Lessing at slessing@usasean.org.

Upcoming Events
Please find the latest version of the Council's 2024 Events Calendar here.

On July 2, the Council will host a welcome lunch in honor of H. E. Dr. Suriya Chindawongse, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United States, to introduce him to our Thailand Committee and its various activities. We will hear the Ambassador’s perspectives on the bilateral relationship and explore how we can best partner with the Royal Thai Embassy moving forward. Sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Please contact Pimploy Vivatanapaiboonlap (pimploy@usasean.org) for additional information.
From July 8 – 12, the Council will lead the annual flagship ASEAN Ambassadors’ Tour, aimed at promoting greater awareness of the political and economic significance of the U.S.-ASEAN relationship and the dynamic relationships among each of the ten ASEAN nations. This year we will travel to Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with an additional pre-tour stop in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Please contact Pimploy Vivatanapaiboonlap (pimploy@usasean.org) for additional information.
On July 16 in collaboration with the U.S. State Department Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, the Council will convene a Roundtable Dialogue and Reception featuring Philippines DICT Secretary Uy and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Ambassador Stephen Lang, on the margins of the inaugural U.S.-Philippines Cyber-Digital Dialogue in Washington, DC.  The roundtable will convene key stakeholders from the Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), National Security Council (NSC), and National Police (PNP), among others. This engagement presents an opportunity for a more in-depth discussion on the Philippines’ rapidly developing digital economy and the opportunities for further public-private partnerships arising from increased cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines in the cyber-digital space.  For more information contact please contact Maya Crowden (mcrowden@usasean.org).
From July 23-25, Council President & CEO Ted Osius will lead our annual business mission to Singapore. This year, the event presents a unique opportunity for members to meet with Singapore’s Cabinet fresh on the heels of the inauguration of Prime Minister Lawrence Wong. Please contact Angelica Ortega (aortega@usasean.org) for more information.
From July 24-25, the Council will conduct our Food and Agriculture industry mission to Thailand.  Please contact Angga Antagia (aantagia@usasean.org) for additional information.
From July 30-31, the Council will conduct our Food and Agriculture industry mission to Vietnam.  Please contact Angga Antagia (aantagia@usasean.org) for additional information.
In late July, the Council will lead a mission to engage ASEAN Senior Officials for the Environment. Please contact Christine Wan (cwan@usasean.org) for more information.
From August 6-7, President & CEO Ted Osius will lead our first in-person business mission to Brunei since 2019, in which we will request a meeting with the Sultan and explore opportunities with Brunei’s efforts to diversify its economy and create high value jobs for its people. Please contact Logan Carnicelli (lcarnicelli@usasean.org) for more information.
Are you registered for our Annual Gala? It takes place August 19, at the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore, featuring Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as our honored guest. On August 20, the Council’s Board of Directors will meet at Warburg Pincus’s Singapore Headquarters. Contact Sarah Lessing (slessing@usasean.org) for sponsorship details for the Gala.
From September 23-24 (TBC), the Council will lead a defense mission to the Philippines immediately prior to the Asia Defense and Security (ADAS) exhibition.  Please contact Chuck Casey (ccasey@usasean.org) for more information. 
From September 20-22, the Council will lead a business mission to the 56thASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Vientiane, Laos.  Please contact Jack Myint (jmyint@usasean.org) for more information.
From September 24-27 (TBC), the Council will lead a mission to ASEAN Energy Ministers Meetings, also hosted by the 2024 ASEAN Chair in Vientiane, Laos. With Laos aspiring to live up to its “Battery of Southeast Asia” moniker and this year proving a pivotal time to ensure energy transition and security in the region, this year’s energy mission will provide members with critical, frontline engagements.  Please contact Logan Carnicelli (lcarnicelli@usasean.org) for more information.

From September 30 - October 1, the Council will lead our business mission to Laos.  Please contact Jack Myint (jmyint@usasean.org) for more information.


We are thrilled to announce that the US-ASEAN Business Council is transitioning to a new membership management system designed to empower you with greater control and flexibility over your engagement with the Council. This new system is part of our ongoing commitment to enhance your member experience and streamline our services.

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What You Can Expect with the New System 

  1. Adding/Removing Contacts: Managing your organization's contacts has never been easier. With the new system, you can effortlessly add or remove contacts from your organization. This ensures that the right individuals within your team are always up-to-date with the latest Council activities and communications. 

  2. Setting Up Autopay: Our new system allows you to set up autopay for your membership dues and event fees to simplify your billing process. This feature ensures timely payments and eliminates the hassle of manual processing, giving you more time to focus on your core activities. 

  3. Adding/Changing Subscriptions: Our new platform allows you to add or change your subscriptions based on your evolving interests and needs. Whether you want to subscribe to specific newsletters, policy updates, or event notifications, you can easily customize your preferences. 

  4. Viewing Upcoming Events: Stay informed about all the exciting events we have planned. The new system offers a comprehensive calendar view of upcoming events, allowing you to plan and make the most of the opportunities to connect, learn, and engage with fellow members and industry leaders. 

  5. Registering for Events: Event registration is now more straightforward and efficient. You can quickly register for events directly through the new platform. It also allows you to manage your event participation, view event details, and receive timely reminders.

Training and Support

We will send training emails this summer to help you navigate and utilize these new features effectively. These emails will include detailed instructions and video tutorials to ensure a smooth transition and answer any questions you may have.  Thank you for your continued support and engagement, and should you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to contact our membership team at membership@usasean.org.

Comings and Goings

All the best to Ben Djanuar, recipient of a full scholarship from the Indonesian Government to earn a master's degree at the University of Oxford.  We thank Ben for his excellent contributions during the last three years at US-ABC and wish him the best of luck pursuing his studies.

Council in the Press

Việt Nam luôn quan tâm chăm lo, bảo vệ quyền lợi của người lao động - Nhan Dan
33rd Meeting of ASEAN Directors-General of Customs opens - Vietnam Plus
33rd ASEAN Customs Directors General of Custos Meeting - Bernama
33rd Meeting of ASEAN Directors-General of Customs - VoV
Afternoon briefing - Vietnam Plus
Vietnam shows great attention, efforts in ensuring labourers’ rights - Vietnam Plus
Le Vietnam s’intéresse toujours à la protection des droits des travailleurs - Le Courrier du Vietnam
ASEAN customs leaders discuss trade facilitation at Kien Giang meeting - VnEconomy
PM urges FedEx Express to expand operations in Vietnam - Vietnam Plus
The trend of applying AI technology in customs management is increasing - Hai Quan
Việt Nam shows great attention, efforts in ensuring laborers’ rights - Vietnam News
Aboitiz Data Innovation to expand PH AI success in Southeast Asia - Manila Bulletin
ADI plans regional expansion - Malaya Business Insight
U.S.-ASEAN Business Council hosts lunch for the Secretary-General of ASEAN - ASEAN Secretary General
"Kebijakan Airlangga yang Buat Pengusaha Asing Senang-Ucap Terima Kasih" - CNN Indonesia
Boeing names new president for Southeast Asia - Boeing
Joint Summary of Working Visit of the Secretary-General of ASEAN to the United States - U.S. Mission to ASEAN
Foreign Technology Firms in Vietnam: Tax Payments Highlight Growing Commercial Presence - Vietnam Briefing
Notice of Funding Opportunity (2024 ASEAN Reporters Tour) - U.S. Mission to ASEAN
How ASEAN can drive its digital economy - World Economic Forum

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Corporate Council

Corporate membership provides general advocacy support, access to all country- and industry-specific updates, and access to most Council events.

  • Business missions to all 10 ASEAN markets which engage governments at the highest levels.
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Corporate membership provides general advocacy support, access to all country- and industry-specific updates, and access to most Council events.

  • All Corporate benefits.
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  • Identification of, and engagement with appropriate policy influencers to impact policy concerns.
  • Assistance in conducting follow-up after engaging government leaders (can include providing officials with additional materials, setting up meetings with their staff, getting a readout of the government’s reaction to the discussion).
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