(Washington, D.C.) - The 10 Southeast Asian nations that make up ASEAN represent the third largest population bordering the first and second largest populations and is the biggest trade and investment regional hub in Asia. With a combined population of over 600 million people, a total GDP nearing US$3 trillion, and an average annual GDP growth rate of 5 percent, ASEAN is also a leading industrial manufacturing node in the global economy. ASEAN is currently the fifth largest regional manufacturing economy in the world. In its 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, Deloitte already considers three ASEAN nations – Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – globally competitive in advanced manufacturing, and it expects Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand to join them among the 15 most competitive manufacturing nations in the world by 2020. When coupled with ASEAN’s extensive global and regional network of preferential free trade agreements, it is not surprising that ASEAN plays a critical role in the global manufacturing supply chains across a wide range of industry sectors, including food and beverages, chemical and chemical products, electronics, autos, rubber, textiles and apparel, footwear and plastics.
As the premier trade association for American companies doing business in ASEAN, the US-ASEAN Business Council is announcing the launch of our Manufacturing Committee. Joining our suite of other industry committees, the Council’s Manufacturing Committee will serve as a multi discipline-based platform for our members to engage ASEAN’s public-sector policy makers, regulators and business leaders at both the regional and national levels, to promote greater manufacturing related export and investment activities between the United States and ASEAN. Current Council members with manufacturing activities in ASEAN include: Boston Scientific; Dell Computers; Dow Chemical Company; ExxonMobil; Ford Motor Company; General Motors; Hanesbrands; Mattel; Nike; Proctor & Gamble, and Texas Instruments.
Given the onset of Industry 4.0 digital technologies in both disrupting and transforming industrial manufacturing activities, the Manufacturing Committee will enhance the Council’s ability to promote open, transparent and competitive ecosystems governing manufacturing industries and related services in ASEAN. The committee will also look to highlight the roles that the US private sector can play in both shaping the foundation of 21st century manufacturing and as an advocate for the types of rules, regulations, laws and standards necessary to promote freer trade and investment.
Council President and CEO Alexander Feldman said: “As a member driven organization, I am excited about the new opportunities this committee will create to help our members expand their manufacturing related trade and investment business activities in ASEAN. Given the global manufacturing prowess of a number of ASEAN nations and the pace of technological change characterized by the Internet of Things (IOT), additive manufacturing (3-D printing), robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), all of which are revolutionizing manufacturing processes, now more than ever American companies will have to compete more effectively to be successful in ASEAN.”
Council Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director Ambassador Michael Michalak also noted: “For decades some of America’s most well-known companies in the automotive, electronics, and aviation sectors have incorporated ASEAN nations into their global supply chains to successfully compete against Chinese, European and Japanese firms. As companies strive to maintain their ability to compete for customers in some of the world’s fastest growing markets, our Manufacturing Committee will be an additional resource for American firms in navigating both technological changes and new preferential trade agreements like the CPTPP and ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA.”