WASHINGTON, D.C.—At a gala dinner this evening, the US-ASEAN Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein for the first visit to Washington by a head of state from Myanmar since 1966. The Chamber’s Vice President for Asia Tami Overby and Council President Alexander Feldman spoke to leaders from both the business and policymaking communities, and offered their support for continued progress in bilateral trade and economic relations. The Honorable William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, and The Honorable Derek Mitchell, U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, also gave remarks.
“This historic visit marks a true turning point in U.S.-Myanmar relations,” said Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “The U.S. Business community is firmly committed to continuing to support Myanmar’s re-engagement with the global community, not just through trade and investment, but also through engaging with the Myanmar government as they work towards important milestones like their 2014 chairmanship of ASEAN. Myanmar’s chairmanship year will be critical to the successful completion of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015.”
“Myanmar’s substantial reforms under President Thein Sein’s leadership have forged a path forward for the United States government to ease trade and investment restrictions, giving American businesses an enormous opportunity to engage Myanmar’s growing consumer market,” said Overby. “For their part, U.S. companies can provide the training, human resource development, respect for the environment, respect for the rule of law, and the highest standards of governance and transparency – all of which the Myanmar government and private sector have repeatedly requested.”
The US-ASEAN Business Council represents more than 125 major U.S. corporations, ranging from those that have been active in Southeast Asia for a century to newcomers looking to expand their presence in one of the world’s most dynamic markets. With offices in 6 ASEAN countries and Washington D.C., the Council is the most effective conduit between decision makers on both sides of the Pacific. The Council is the only U.S. based organization recognized in the ASEAN Charter.
International trade and investment is a key component of the Chamber’s 2013 American Jobs and Growth Agenda, an ambitious plan to generate stronger economic growth, create jobs, and expand opportunity for all Americans.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 50 regional and policy experts and 12 country-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 116 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.