(Bandar Seri Begawan) The US-ASEAN Business Council led its annual Business Mission to the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting this week, during which the delegation officially announced a partnership with USAID to expand the Council’s training program for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Senior Executives from 13 leading U.S. companies joined the delegation for the Council’s annual discussion with the 10 ASEAN Economic Ministers. The delegation was led by Sam Kim, Chair of the Council’s ASEAN Committee and Vice President of ASEAN and Asia Development Markets for P&G, and Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
“The Council is strongly committed to helping the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) become a success,” said Sam Kim. “We will keep working with the Ministers to bring the vision of the AEC to life through specific partnerships and policy initiatives that unlock the full potential of ASEAN as a region. In particular, a robust AEC must benefit ASEAN small and medium enterprises, which comprise 96% of the ASEAN economy, and we are delighted to announce an expanded SME program that advances that objective.
“The US-ASEAN Business Council, through its ASEAN Committee led by Procter & Gamble, UPS, HP, GE, and Microsoft, is proud to announce an innovative public-private partnership with USAID to expand support to SMEs in ASEAN. This partnership will build on the Council's widely praised SME training program created at the request of the ASEAN Economic Ministers, which offers skills training, knowledge transfer, and networking opportunities to SMEs in all 10 ASEAN nations. The Council and USAID's new ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment program will partner to expand the resources, scope and diversity of SME training in the run-up to the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.”
“UPS has been proud to support the Council’s SME program in training over 300 representatives of small businesses in ASEAN,” said Shiumei Lin, Vice President of Public Affairs for UPS and Vice Chair of the Council’s ASEAN Committee. “Through this new partnership, we are excited to expand the program to reach more SMEs and help them integrate into global supply chains.”
“The ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting represents an important opportunity to advance mutually beneficial programs which help improve the economic environment in ASEAN for our members and for business in general,” said Alexander Feldman. “In 2013, the Council held the second AEM Ministers Roadshow to the United States in cooperation with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of State. The Roadshow connects the Ministers directly with communities and businesses around America, and represents, along with the expanded SME program, precisely the types of efforts that exemplify the “win-win” partnerships that the Council seeks to build with the AEM.”
In addition to meeting with the 10 ASEAN Economic Ministers, the Council delegation also held bilateral meetings with H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce of Cambodia, H.E. Bayu Khrisnamurti, Vice Minister of Trade of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Laos, H.E. Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, H.E. Dr. Kan Zaw, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development of Myanmar, H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry of Singapore, H.E. Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisal, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand, and H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of ASEAN. The Council also met with the Honorable Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative, the Honorable Francisco Sanchez, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, the Honorable Daniel Shields, U.S. Ambassador to Brunei, and the Honorable David Carden, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN. Delegates also participated in the annual ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.Companies participating in the delegation included Citi, Covidien, FedEx, GE, GM, Google, Microsoft, Philip Morris International, P&G, Qualcomm, Syngenta, UPS, and Visa.