“This is the perfect time to launch expanded Congressional engagement with ASEAN in the form of the ASEAN Congressional Caucus, given that 20 states around the United States sell over a billion dollars in American made products to ASEAN each year,” said US-ASEAN Business Council President and CEO Alexander Feldman. “We applaud the vision of Congressman Castro and Congresswoman Wagar. ASEAN is America’s 4th largest export market, and nearly 400,000 American jobs depend on trade with ASEAN. After decades of promoting trade liberalization, ASEAN on a per capita basis currently buys almost twice as many American-made exports as China and over nine times as much as India. The importance of this market will only grow in the decades to come, as 65% of ASEAN’s 640 million people are under 35 – making it not only one of the world’s fastest growing markets but the youngest of the World’s top 10 largest economies.
“2017 marks both ASEAN’s 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of formal US-ASEAN relations. U.S. engagement with ASEAN on economic, security and political issues, including participation in vital multilateral forums like the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting, as well as APEC, which this year is hosted by Vietnam, will be essential to maintaining America’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific. Enhanced Congressional engagement through the ASEAN caucus will be key to positioning this vital relationship for continued growth.”