President's Newsletter - November 2022

Amb. Ted Osius
Amb. Ted Osius
President & CEO
US-ASEAN Business Council

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! This month, all eyes turned to Southeast Asia as three ASEAN nations, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand, hosted important international summits, each of which has implications for America’s economic and business interests with ASEAN. 

President Biden attended both the US-ASEAN and East Asia summits in Cambodia. The US-ASEAN Summit resulted in the elevation of US-ASEAN relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), institutionalizing high-level government-to-government dialogues on a variety of topics. The CSP means that the United States joins the ranks of China, Australia, Korea, and Japan, who already had strategic partnerships with ASEAN. The summit also featured the launch of the US-ASEAN Electric Vehicle Initiative; the US-ASEAN Platform for Infrastructure and Connectivity; and support for the new ASEAN Center for Climate Change. Also of note was the announcement that the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) will partner with the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality and US-ASEAN Business Council on digital trust and cybersecurity standards programs.   

Following the Summit, President Biden attended the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Indonesia, where he announced the launch of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) initiative.  The JETP will be a long-term partnership involving Indonesia, Canada, and several EU members to accelerate Indonesia’s energy transition efforts by mobilizing $20 billion in financial support. Additional initiatives announced to strengthen US-Indonesia economic relations include a $698 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact to support investment in climate-conscious transportation infrastructure projects and financing for coal plant decommissioning.     

In Thailand, Vice President Harris, USTR Tai, and Secretary of State Blinken attended the 2022 APEC Summit, which included the official handover of the 2023 APEC leadership to the United States, during which ministerial meetings will be in Detroit, Seattle, and Palm Springs with the APEC Leaders’ Summit in San Francisco. The U.S. government has announced that its theme for APEC next year will be “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All” with these priorities: making resiliency, sustainability, and inclusivity core values in trade policy choices; advancing the needs of U.S. workers, consumers, and businesses; and preparing other economies for participation in high-standard trade agreements. The Council is excited to bring back its Ambassadors’ Tours which will visit several of the APEC host cities. 

On November 19, Malaysia went to the polls to elect a new government. The result was a hung parliament with Pakatan Harapan (PH) winning 82 seats, followed by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition with 73 seats. Barisan Nasional (BN) followed suit with 30 seats, while other parties won 35 seats. The biggest surprise was how strongly PN performed and how poorly BN fared, recording its worst ever loss.  With PAS (a conservative pro-Islamic party) in the PN coalition, garnering the largest single block in Parliament, it could prove challenging to pass any progressive or liberal legislation. After five days of uncertainty, the Palace announced Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s tenth Prime Minister. He will lead a unity government with support from BN, Borneo-based parties and some independents. The Cabinet will be announced in the coming days. 

Looking ahead, negotiations over the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will begin in Brisbane, Australia, from December 10-15. Earlier this month, the Council hosted an IPEF Briefing with the Embassy of Australia to share perspectives on what to expect from the first round of negotiations. As we go into the holiday season, we hope negotiations will produce one of the early wins that the DOC is seeking.

Best regards,


Month in Review
IPEF Briefing with the Embassy of Australia
On November 3, the Council continued its IPEF seminar series with a briefing with Andrew Jury, the Minister-Counsellor for Trade for the Embassy of Australia. The briefing gave members the opportunity to discuss their ideas for and concerns about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with representatives of the Australian government prior to the first rounds of negotiations in Brisbane, Australia, from December 10-15.  

44th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry  
Through the first half of November, the US-ASEAN Business Council has continued its engagements for the Virtual mission to the 44th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (44 AMAF). Our delegation has participated in bilateral meetings with the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).  Our dialogue with the Philippine Department of Agriculture functioned as the 3rd Joint Working Group Meeting on the Council’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the DA. During this mission, the Council received affirmation from the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture that they would like to participate in an MoU.  

2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC 
The Council's Director for Sustainability, Drew Hasson, went to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for COP27, which took place from Nov 6-18, 2022. This was the first time the Council was represented at the Conference, and the Council successfully secured meetings with delegations from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The Council also met with the sustainability leads for Estée Lauder, LinkedIn, Mars Corp, 3M, JPMorgan, and Meta. The 2023 COP28 will convene in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and the Council looks forward to expanding our participation.  

40th and 41st ASEAN Summits 
From November 9-10, Amb. Michalak joined the ASEAN Business Investment Summit (ABIS) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he spoke on the Summit’s opening scene-setting panel addressing challenges in ASEAN. The ABIS gala hosted by H.E. Pan Sorasak (Minister of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Chair of ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting) and Neak Oknha Kith Meng (2022 Chairman, ASEAN Business Advisory Council) provided valuable networking opportunities to reinforce relationships for the Council with several key Ministers and ASEAN officials in attendance. 

B20 Summit  
The Council’s Indonesia Chief Representative, Taufikurrahman, attended the B20 Summit and several sideline events, including the Bloomberg CEO Forum and the signing of an MoU on low-emissions transportation systems between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and PT Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Jakarta. Chair of the Council’s Indonesia Committee, Citi, also attended the Summit along with 30 other delegates from the Council’s members. The Summit covered several key topics, namely: 1) innovation for equitable post-crisis growth; 2) inclusion of MSMEs and vulnerable groups for sustainable development; and 3) collaboration between developed and developing countries for strong and sustainable growth.  

2022 APEC CEO Summit 
From November 16-18, Amb. Michalak participated in the 2022 APEC CEO Summit, and hosted seven meetings with leaders in conjunction with the U.S. APEC Business Coalition. Bilateral meetings included: Helen Stylianou (Australia Ambassador to APEC); H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc (President of Vietnam); Hon. Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra (Vice President of Peru); Alfredo Pascual (Philippines Department of trade and Industry Secretary); and the U.S. delegation including U.S. Trade Representative Amb. Katherine Tai, Department of State officials, and a Congressional staff delegation.

14th ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSME  
On November 22, the Council attended the 14th ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSME Meeting. The Council, along with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry and USAID-IGNITE, presented updates regarding the ASEAN SME Academy, an online learning platform for the ASEAN SMEs. In addition, the Council presented the SME Initiatives Report on activities in 2022 and its upcoming plans for 2023, such as a US-ASEAN SME Summit, SME Workshop Series, ASEAN SME Community, and SME Podcast. In this meeting, the Council also reiterated its commitment to support Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship next year by collaborating on the first US-ASEAN SME Summit in 2023. For more details and information on SME activities in 2023, please contact Nugraheni Utami or Salsabil Afifa.  

2022 Thailand Business Mission 
On November 28-30, the Council organized its 2022 Thailand Business Mission. This year the Council had the honor of bringing a delegation of 43 U.S. companies to meet with the Royal Thai Government in person in Bangkok, Thailand, after two years of the hybrid format. Members and government leaders discussed the Royal Thai Government’s priorities and economic outlook and private sector suggestions about improving economic opportunities.  2023 will mark the 190th anniversary of U.S.-Thai diplomatic relations, which are on an upswing. Council members were able to present their priorities in Thailand and demonstrate their commitment to supporting the Thai government’s priorities as a trusted partner. 
Upcoming Events
Please find the most updated version of the Council's 2022 Events Calendar here.
SME Program – Accelerating Global Readiness for Vietnamese SMEs  
The Council will hold a SME Program titled “Accelerating Global Readiness for Vietnamese SMEs” in Hanoi, Vietnam, on December 2. The program will feature a policy dialogue with the Vietnamese government followed by a company showcase session by participating member companies. The upcoming event is supported by Visa, Google, AWS, Meta, and UPS and will be the last SME workshop series in 2022. For more details and information on this program, please contact Nugraheni Utami or Salsabil Afifa

US-ABC End-of-Year Gala in Partnership with the ASEAN Committee of Washington 
After nearly three years of recovery from the hardships of COVID-19, ASEAN not only survives and revives, but it thrives. Five of the ten ASEAN member states have been ranked in the top 25 for total trade with the United States in the first two quarters of 2022. To celebrate current and potential economic growth in the region, the Council and the ASEAN Committee in Washington DC (ACW) are co-hosting a Gala Reception on December 5. Please get in touch with Drew Hasson for sponsorship opportunities. Come celebrate with ASEAN diplomatic leaders and U.S. officials for an evening of reunion and reinvigoration. 

Aerospace Defense and Security Industry Mission to Vietnam International Defense EXPO 2022   
The Council's Defense Industry Mission to Vietnam, taking place December 5-7, on the sidelines of the Vietnam International Defense Expo 2022 in Hanoi. This is a unique opportunity for members to showcase state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to the Vietnam market while building relationships with crucial procurement officials and decision-makers. Please reach out to Jack Myint or Vu Tu Thanh with any questions. To register, please click here

Farewell Reception in honor of H. E. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN 
The Council is hosting a Farewell Reception on December 8 in Jakarta in honor of H.E. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, as his term ends on December 31, 2022, after serving since January 2018. SG Lim has been a reliable partner and true friend to the U.S. business community. He helped pave the way for closer engagement between US-ABC with the ASEAN Secretariat and enabled the Council to initiate many new partnerships with various ASEAN bodies. Members are invited to sponsor the reception. Please contact Marcella Suwandhi and Salsabil Afifa for further information.  

2022 ASEAN Business Mission 
The Council is registering senior-level executives for the 2022 ASEAN Business Mission, taking place in person in Jakarta, Indonesia, on December 8-9. The Mission will feature meetings with Jakarta-based ASEAN stakeholders, distinguished leaders and experts on ASEAN, and Indonesian Government officials in light of its incoming chairmanship of ASEAN in 2023. The Mission aims to enhance the U.S. private sector’s relations with ASEAN stakeholders and to understand ASEAN's progress and aspirations across the three ASEAN Community pillars amidst changing geopolitical and economic landscapes. The Mission would also seek to leverage the agenda and priority deliverables of ASEAN 2023 and explore opportunities for how the U.S. private sector can support. Please contact Marcella Suwandhi and Salsabil Afifa for further information.

Roundtable Discussion with DFC CEO Scott Nathan 
On December 12, the Council will host a hybrid roundtable discussion with the Development Finance Corporation’s CEO, Scott Nathan. The roundtable will be an opportunity for members to learn about DFC’s priorities in Southeast Asia as well as for members to share their perspectives with DFC’s top leadership directly. Please reach out to Hazen Williams with any questions, and you can register here.
Council in the Press
Council President & CEO Ted Osius on CNBC Street Signs about the November Summits
On CNBC’s Street Signs, Ambassador Ted Osius spoke about the state of U.S.-ASEAN relations as well as the sequence of Summits that occurred in Southeast Asia this month. Watch the interview here.

Council President & CEO Ted Osius Interviewed for Politico Article on U.S. Relations with the Indo-Pacific Region
In a Politico article, Ambassador Ted Osius was asked about the state of U.S. relations with its various Indo-Pacific partners. Read more about the state of U.S.-ASEAN relations through this lens here.

Council President & CEO Ambassador Ted Osius inducted into American Academy of Diplomacy
This month, the Council was excited to celebrate Ambassador Osius’ induction into the American Academy of Diplomacy. 

Council Senior Vice President for Policy Marc Mealy Interviewed in VOA Article on U.S. Relations in the Indo-Pacific
In a VOA article, Marc Mealy was asked about his thoughts on how U.S. relationships with China and Russia flared during the series of summits hosted in Southeast Asia in November. Read more about these relationships here.

US-ABC Thailand Business Mission Mentioned in Thai Press
The Council’s Thailand Business Mission was highlighted in two articles in the Thai press that are written in English. Read more about the Council’s meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha in the Bangkok Post or Pattaya Mail.

Council Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director Ambassador Mike Michalak Mentioned in Vietnamese Press on Supply Chains
Ambassador Michalak was mentioned in two articles in the Vietnamese press regarding Vietnamese agencies’ cooperation with U.S. companies and their incorporation into Vietnamese supply chains. Read more about the role of U.S. companies in Vietnam’s supply chains in Newswires or VNExpress.

Council Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director Ambassador Mike Michalak Mentioned in Article about December IPEF Negotiations
Ambassador Michalak was mentioned in a Manila Bulletin article on the Philippines’ decision to attend the first round of IPEF negotiations that will occur in Brisbane, Australia from December 10-15. Read more about the incoming negotiations here.

Council Dinner in Honor of President Bongbong Marcos on the Sidelines of the UN General Assembly Mentioned in Philippine Press
The Council’s dinner in honor of Philippines President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September was referenced in the Philippines press. Read more about private sector cooperation in the Philippines in the Manila Standard or Philippines Star.

US-ASEAN Business Council Laos Business Mission Covered in the Diplomat
The Council’s Laos Business Mission was described in an article in the Diplomat related to railway projects in Laos and increasing investment from the West in Laos. Read more about Laos’ new railways as a vessel for international investment here.

US-ASEAN Business Council Mentioned in Article about ASEAN’s Build Up to COP27
In an article about the ASEAN Food & Agriculture Road to COP27 series mentions the Council. Read more about regional cooperation on food and agriculture issues here.

Non-English media references: 
Delegations & Envoys
Assistant United States Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Kelly Milton and Assistant United States Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (Acting) Sarah Ellerman to Vietnam
On November 9-10, Assistant United States Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Kelly Milton and Assistant United States Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Sarah Ellerman met with the Vietnamese government in the second meeting of the Timber Working Group under the Agreement Between the Governments of the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on Illegal Logging and Timber Trade (“Timber Agreement”) in Hanoi, Vietnam. The meeting focused on advancing the two country’s ongoing efforts and reviewing progress in implementing crucial development areas of the Agreement. The delegations also discussed relevant technical assistance and capacity-building activities in preventing illegal activities that cause harm to the environment and natural resources. The next meeting of the Timber Working Group will take place in 2023. 

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellin to Indonesia 
Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen traveled to Indonesia from November 12-16 to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit and seek collaboration from U.S. counterparts in increasing global economic resilience. Throughout her visit, the secretary underlined the significance of expanding sustainable investments and infrastructure development among G20 nations. In addition, Secretary Yellen met with G20 finance and health ministers and participated in the launch of the pandemic preparedness fund, to which the United States pledged $450 million.  

President Joe Biden to Cambodia, Indonesia
President Joe Biden traveled to Cambodia to participate in the East Asia Summit, U.S.-ASEAN Summit, and the G20 summits. At the East Asia Summit, President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region in promoting peace and prosperity within the region cooperatively on November 13. At the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali, Indonesia, President Biden further demonstrated his commitment to deepening engagement under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment to accelerate infrastructure investment in low- and middle-income countries and strengthen the global economy. At the U.S.-ASEAN Summit, President Biden worked with the ASEAN member states to upgrade the U.S.-ASEAN relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. 

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to Singapore, Thailand
On November 14, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Singapore government officials to discuss bilateral trade relations and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework ahead of the December Senior Officials Meeting in Australia. On November 17, Ambassador Tai joined Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Thailand for the handover of the APEC Ministerial Meeting to the United States. Ambassador Tai congratulated Thailand on its leadership and provided a preview of U.S. priorities for when it becomes the APEC host economy next year. 

Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui to Singapore, Thailand
On November 16 – 17, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to join the APEC CEO Summit, exchanging views with regional business leaders on the global economy and economic outlook and highlighting the United States’s upcoming role as the next APEC host economy. On November 17 – 19, Assistant Secretary Toloui engaged with Singapore government and private sector representatives on supply chain issues, food security, infrastructure development, and semiconductors.   

Vice President Kamala Harris to Thailand, Philippines
On November 18, Vice President Kamala Harris attended the APEC Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, where she reaffirmed America's commitment to Southeast Asia. Harris delivered a speech to a business conference on the Summit’s sidelines outlining next year's APEC summit under the United States host year. Before departing for the Philippines, she held a discussion on climate change and the Mekong region and held talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on expanding cooperation regarding climate change, clean energy, and sustainable development. In the Philippines, Harris underscored the strength of the U.S.-Philippines alliance and had conversations about education and investment. 

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand
Secretary Blinken reaffirmed U.S. support and commitment to ASEAN at the US-ASEAN and East Asia Summits in Cambodia. During the G20 Leaders' Summit in Indonesia, Secretary Blinken supported President Biden's participation in addressing key challenges, like climate change, energy, food security, and global economic recovery. At the APEC Summit in Thailand, Secretary advanced key economic policies regarding free, fair, and open trade and inclusive and sustainable growth.

Congressional Delegation to Cambodia  
Beginning on November 19, Representatives Meeks and Bera arrived in Cambodia to lead a Congressional Delegation to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA). As the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation respectively, Representatives Meeks and Bera represented the United States in the meeting at the request of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Indonesia  
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin visited Indonesia on November 21st to discuss bilateral security initiatives and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to robust collaboration with the Indonesian defense community. In addition, Secretary Austin met with Military Minister Prabowo Subianto and Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces General Andika Perkasa to discuss pathways towards advancements in force modernization, professional military education, and maritime cooperation. 
In the News in Southeast Asia
Ukraine Peace Pact with ASEAN
On November 10, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba signed the Treaty on Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Treaty acts as a peace accord that enshrines international affirmations for peaceful engagement and strengthens the diplomatic ties between ASEAN and Ukraine. As the host country, Cambodia pledged to support Ukraine in becoming a “Sectoral Dialogue Partner” with ASEAN and uphold the country’s stance on Ukraine’s peace, stability, and territorial integrity and development. 
Country and Industry Updates
See our most recent Updates and Analysis for more detail: