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November 5, 2023

President's Newsletter, November 2023

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nov 2023 newsletter 3
November 5, 2023

Dear Members,  
I hope you had a warm and joyful Thanksgiving. Here at the Council, we are thankful for your continued support as we work to enhance U.S.-ASEAN business relations. In this newsletter, I will highlight some of this month’s exciting developments at the Council and in U.S.-ASEAN affairs. 
This month’s headlines revolved around the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit in San Fransisco from November 14-16. The U.S.-ASEAN Business Council orchestrated several significant interactions as part of the APEC Business Coalition, which also includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Center for APEC. During APEC, we organized bilateral meetings with key leaders, including Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong.  
On the sidelines of APEC, I spoke with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. In a “fireside chat” as part of the Philippines Economic Briefing, providing valuable insights into pressing issues facing the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, I joined the business community’s dinner for President Xi Jinping of China along with U.S. corporate leaders and government officials, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. We are proud to have fostered substantive discussions on critical regional economic cooperation, strengthening our ties with important partners. Looking ahead, we are excited about Peru hosting APEC in 2024. 

nov 2023 newsletter 1
H.E. Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister of Thailand, shaking hands with H.E. Robert F. Godec, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, in Bangkok, Thailand, during the Council’s 2023 Thailand Business Mission
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Ambassador Ted Osius, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, hosting a fireside chat with H.E. Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Romualdez Marcos Jr., President of the Philippines, in San Francisco, California

We also congratulate member nations of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), including the United States and seven ASEAN member states, for the partial conclusion of negotiations on the sidelines of APEC. Three completed IPEF pillars are welcome developments for the American business community: promoting resiliency of supply chains; supporting the transition to clean energy economies; and strengthening anti-corruption measures. (The trade pillar, with negotiations led by USTR, remains unfinished.) 
In the lead-up to APEC, we welcomed a historic milestone in U.S.-Indonesia ties. On November 13, President Biden and President Jokowi met at the White House to announce the upgrade of U.S.-Indonesia relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, with plans to deepen economic development, security cooperation, climate goals, and people-to-people connections. President Jokowi also met with several U.S. companies, gave a public speech at Georgetown University, and visited Stanford University – two universities that plan to open satellite campuses in Indonesia. Read our analytical update on Jokowi-Biden meeting here

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Washington, D.C.: President Jokowi gives a public speech at Georgetown University 

This month’s high-level engagements signify the positive direction of U.S.-ASEAN ties and the importance of in-person meetings. That’s why we are also thrilled to have recently completed our annual Thailand Business Mission in Bangkok, led by regional managing director and senior vice president Amb. Brian McFeeters. In engagements with the Royal Thai Government, the 42-member company delegation of leading U.S. companies raised key issues and gained firsthand insight into the Royal Thai Government’s plans and policies to promote investment, growth, sustainability, innovation, and stronger business relations between Thailand and the United States. 

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Washington, D.C.: Ambassador Ted Osius, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, engaging in a fireside chat with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois

Celebrating this year’s exciting developments in U.S.-ASEAN economic ties, we were delighted to host ambassadors from Southeast Asian embassies and senior U.S. Government officials at our annual gala at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. The Council hosted Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who discussed the importance of the U.S.-ASEAN partnership towards a sustainable future. Business and think-tank leaders joined the gala. 
Earlier this month, Ambassador McFeeters led our delegation to the 29th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. This significant gathering, involved engaging dialogues on Supply Chain Resiliency and EV regulatory frameworks. Our presence underscored the importance of sustainable and secure transportation in ASEAN's supply chain resilience, and we put forward key recommendations on EV Ecosystem Standards. 

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Santa Monica, California: Ambassador Ted Osius, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, pictured with David Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Energy Capital Vietnam 

I am humbled that, on November 18, I was honored with the Global Village Foundation’s Humanitarian Diplomatic Service Award. This award acknowledges efforts to foster international relations and champion human rights, and was previously awarded to Pete Peterson, the first U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. 
These events demonstrate the Council’s continuing efforts to provide value to our members, advance the U.S.-ASEAN economic partnership, and strengthen our relationship with ASEAN. We are grateful for your continued support for and participation in these efforts, and we look forward to working with you in the coming months to achieve even more success. 
Best regards, 
Ted Osius, Ambassador (ret.) 


Month in Review

2023 US-ASEAN Business Council Gala 
On November 1, the Council hosted its annual gala at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. The Council hosted Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois in conversation: "Partnering for a Sustainable Future," and was attended by ASEAN Ambassadors, senior U.S. government officials, and leaders from across the think-tank and private sector. The Council was excited to celebrate the strong economic ties between the U.S. and ASEAN by welcoming our close colleagues from Southeast Asian embassies and the U.S. Government. Freeport McMoRan, UPS, and Corteva generously sponsored the gala dinner. 
Engaging Officials from the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI) Delegation  
On October 31, in line with the annual ASEAN-US Committee Science and Technology (AUCST) dialogue, the US-ABC had the privilege of hosting ASEAN COSTI delegates on a visit to Corteva Agriscience Chesapeake Farm in Virginia. In addition to a tour of the farm, delegates had the opportunity to explore Innovative Sustainable Agriculture Practices innovations, including biotechnology, gene-editing, green chemistries, and biologicals. Leading delegation were the COSTI Chair, Mr. Mohammad Nazri Mohammad Yusof, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunication of Brunei Darussalam, and Dr. Zurina Muchtar, Head of the Science and Technology Division of the ASEAN Secretariat. The group included high-ranking officials from each of the 10 ASEAN member ministries responsible for Science, Technology, and Innovation. 
Roundtable Dialogue on AI Policy with Officials from the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation 
On November 1, US-ABC organized an AI Policy Roundtable Dialogue with representatives from leading technology and business strategy companies as a part its broader programming while hosting the ASEAN COSTI delegates. During the event, delegates and members had the opportunity to exchange candid remarks about national and regional policy developments and how public and private actors can work towards fostering responsible AI. Later that day, the COSTI Delegates attended the Innovation Session on Genomic Technology by Illumina, which works to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome through DNA sequencing and related technology. The delegates learned about the expanded utility of these technologies, including the possibility of sampling entire gene panels. 
29th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting  
The US-ASEAN Business Council led its 9th delegation to the 29th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, engaging with transport ministers and officials from November 7-10. Chaired by Lao PDR's Ministry of Public Works and Transport, this was the Council's first participation in the Senior Transport Officials Meeting. The Council submitted a Recommendation Paper on EV Ecosystem Standards and proposed a workshop on Sustainable Infrastructure and virtual roundtables. The mission also featured a working luncheon with ASEAN ministers, focusing on Supply Chain Resiliency, Connectivity, and EV regulatory frameworks. Ambassador Brian McFeeters emphasized the importance of sustainable, safe, and secure transportation for ASEAN's supply chain resilience. Bilateral meetings were held with representatives from various ASEAN countries and Japan, including the ASEAN Secretariat. The delegation comprised representatives from six Council member companies, including FedEx, UPS, 3M, Boeing, VinFast, and Autodesk. 
Briefing on Vietnam's Non-Market Economy Status Review 
On November 8, the Council organized an in-person Briefing event at our Washington D.C. office regarding Vietnam’s non-market economy status review by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Participants had the opportunity to interact with Ms. Nguyen Thuy Hong, new Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Vietnam in the United States, and representatives from the Vietnam Trade Office, hearing Vietnam’s perspective on the issue and discussing its potential impact on U.S. companies conducting business in and with Vietnam. 
Briefing on Business Environment and Investment Opportunities in Nghe An Province, Vietnam  
On November 9, the Council hosted a delegation led by Nghe An Province’s chairman Mr. Nguyen Duc Trung at our Washington D.C. office. During the roundtable meeting, members were able to hear from the Chairman about the province's current business landscape, its core strengths, competitive advantages, strategic direction, and the local government's incentives to facilitate foreign direct investment. 
The USABC Health Dialogues: Innovations for Health  
From November 14-15, the Council organized its first “US-ABC Health Dialogues: Innovations for Health” in Manila. Eight health and life sciences companies participated in a series of high-level meetings on priority healthcare issues with seven key government agencies. The meetings centered on crucial health and health technology issues in the country. Member companies had the opportunity to deepen engagements with the government in the areas of digitalizing healthcare systems, implementing capacity building for health technologies, promoting sustainable healthcare financing solutions, and strengthening the country’s primary and service care network. The Health Dialogues builds on the success of the 2023 Philippines Business Mission held last August 9 to 11, where the Council met with the Secretaries of Health, Science and Technology, and ICT. 
2023 APEC CEO Summit 
From November 14-16, during the APEC CEO Summit in San Francisco, the US-ASEAN Business Council orchestrated a series of significant interactions. As part of the APEC Business Coalition, comprising the US-ASEAN Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce, and NCAPEC, the Council organized bilateral meetings with key leaders. Notably, these meetings included substantive discussions with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong, fostering in-depth conversations on critical regional economic cooperation and strengthened ties. Ambassador Ted Osius, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, facilitated these interactions. He joined President Marcos of the Philippines in a fireside chat at the Ritz Hotel in San Francisco, which provided valuable insights into pressing issues facing the Asia-Pacific region. Ambassador Osius also attended the business community’s dinner for President Xi Jinping of China at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, a distinguished gathering attended by U.S. corporate leaders and US government officials, including Secretary Gina Raimondo. The Council looks forward to Peru hosting APEC in 2024. 

Global Village Foundation’s Humanitarian Diplomat Service Award 
On November 18, Council President & CEO Ted Osius received the Global Village Foundation’s Humanitarian Diplomat Service Award.  The award is “in appreciation for [his] tireless dedication, unwavering commitment, and remarkable efforts to strengthen international relations, champion human rights, and pave the way for a brighter future.  It serves as a testament to the invaluable lasting impact [Ted has] made on the world stage.”  A short video is here. In 2006, Pete Peterson, the first U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, won this prestigious award. 
2023 Thailand Business Mission 
On November 21-23, the Council brought a delegation of 42 leading American companies to Bangkok for its annual Thailand Business Mission. In their engagements with the Royal Thai Government, delegation members raised key issues and gained firsthand insight into the Royal Thai Government’s plans and policies to promote investment, growth, sustainability, innovation, and stronger business relations between Thailand and the United States. The delegation offered U.S. private sector's full support as a dedicated partner. 
ASEAN Matters for America Launch Jakarta Launch Event 
The US-ASEAN Business Council and East-West Center hosted a Jakarta launch for the 6th edition of ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN on November 27, 2023. This is the first launch of the publication outside Washington DC, at the home of the ASEAN Secretariat. The event was brought together and officially opened by Amb. Brian McFeeters, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, US-ABC, H.E. Robert Matheus Michael Tene, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Political-Security Community; Carolina Tinangon, Secretary at the Directorate-General for ASEAN Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia; and Triyono Prijosoesilo, Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability for West Franchise Operations in ASEAN and South Pacific at The Coca Cola Company. During the panel discussion, Kate Rebholz, DCM of U.S. Mission to ASEAN; Bernardino Moningka Vega, Alternate Chair, ASEAN BAC 2023; and Claudia Chan, Senior Director, Public Policy, ASEAN & South Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company, spoke to the continued importance of building a sustainable future of ASEAN and strengthening the long-standing U.S.-ASEAN partnership. The 6th edition of ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN provides invaluable data, analysis, and insights on the economic, strategic, cultural, and social dimensions of US-ASEAN ties and is available on the “Asia Matters for America" website here.” 
SME Workshop in the Philippines 2023  
On November 29, the US-ASEAN Business Council hosted a full-day SME Workshop at Ascott Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, Philippines: “Catalyzing Success in the Global Business Arenas for Filipino SMEs in the Digital Economy.” The workshop partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines under the Bureau of SME Development (DTI-BSMED) also with the Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSME Academy (PTTC – GMEA). The workshop featured diverse speakers from local government representatives from National Development Company, USAID SPEED Philippines, and Small Business Corporation as well as local private sector players like GoNegosyo. This program was supported by Visa and Amazon Global Selling. 

Upcoming Events
Please find the most updated version of the Council's 2023 Events Calendar here.

Ambassador McFeeters to Meet with Key Philippine Officials  
From November 28 to December 1, Ambassador Brian McFeeters will meet with key Philippine government officials, including House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Eli Remolona, Jr. and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Amb. MaryKay Carlson. This will be Amb. McFeeters’ first visit to Manila as the Council’s Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director. These discussions aim to deepen dialogues between the Council and the government to increase cooperation and identify collaborative opportunities to further boost trade and investments in the country. 
The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference  
From November 30 to December 12, COP28 will take place at Expo City, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. COP28 is slated to discuss progress made so far in emissions reduction and meeting the 1.5C goal, as well as measures that need to be put in place to bridge the gaps in progress. As an observer organization, the Council will be supporting a small delegation in attendance. 
2023 Digital Economy Mission to Vietnam 
From December 12-14, The Council will host an inaugural Digital Economy Mission to Vietnam. With Science, Technology, Innovation, and Digital Cooperation identified as “new breakthroughs” of the newly upgraded U.S.-Vietnam partnership, the Mission is well-positioned to enable participating companies to establish and strengthen their presence in Vietnam and their relationship with key government stakeholders to leverage this historic development. Registration for the mission is open until December 1, 2023. (Register here).
4th ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting ADGMIN  
From January 30 to February 2, the Council will hold its flagship ICT business mission to the 4th ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) in Singapore. Under the theme, "Building Inclusive and Trusted Digital Ecosystems," of the 4th ADGMIN, the Council will organize plenary and bilateral engagements with the ASEAN Digital Ministers and other key stakeholders. The delegation will seek to engage in dialogue on key ASEAN initiatives, including the ASEAN Guide on AI Governance and Ethics, progress towards the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement, and cybersecurity-related initiatives. Please contact Mario Masaya (mmasaya@usasean.org) or Le Nguyen (lnguyen@usasean.org) for more information. 
ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting 
The Council will organize the 2024 Mission to the 27th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers. This Mission will take place on the side-lines of the annual ASEAN Tourism Forum, which is scheduled for January 22–27 at the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The host country presents the theme “Quality and Responsible Tourism: Sustaining ASEAN Future.” An official invitation for members to register for this Mission will be sent in due course. Please contact Ben Djanuar (bdjanuar@usasean.org) or Pimploy Vivatanapaiboonlap (pimploy@usasean.org) for more information. 
[Postponement] Food and Agriculture Industry Mission to the Philippines    
The Food and Agriculture Industry Mission to the Philippines, focused on enhancing cooperation and supporting the Philippines' Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing sector will be postponed. Please contact Angga (aantagia@usasean.org) for more information. 
[Invitation] 2024 SME Program Sponsorship 
Bringing the theme of “Empowering ASEAN MSMEs: Advancing Inclusion, Sustainability, and Digital Innovation,” the SME Program in 2024 will aim for the development of ASEAN MSMEs as part of economic sustainability and continuity within the region. Various key activities will be held as part of the 2024 SME Work Plan, including: 1) Optimization of the ASEAN SME Academy 2.0, 2) SME Workshop Series: Inclusive, Green, and Innovative ASEAN MSMEs. Please look forward to the official sponsorship invitation for the 2024 SME Program in the near future. Should there be any inquiries, please contact Mario Masaya (mmasaya@usasean.org) and Bella Afifa (safifa@usasean.org).

Comings and Goings

Drew Hasson, Membership Director, US departed the Council to explore new opportunities. We greatly appreciate his efforts to elevate the Sustainability portfolio during the past fifteen months and his diligent work on the Gala.  We are delighted to congratulate Andrew Koch on his promotion to Membership Director, US, effective December 1. Sarah Lessing, based in Singapore, will continue serving as Membership Director, ASEAN Region. 
Cooper Coviello, Membership, Transportation, Food and Agriculture Analyst also departed the Council to pursue a new business venture. We thank Cooper for his hard work on the Gala as well.

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