The US-ASEAN Business Council led a delegation to the 53rd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) and held its 22nd annual consultation on September 14 with all ten ASEAN Economic Ministers co-chaired by Brunei Darussalam Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II H.E. Dato Dr. Amin Liew Abdullah and the U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. The Council delegates will hold a series of bilateral meetings with heads of delegation from ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, U.S. Government officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN.
During the plenary consultation session, the Council shared its views on the path towards re-building ASEAN’s economy in the post-pandemic era. The delegation underscored the importance of regionalization and intra-ASEAN trade in building long term supply chains resilience, developing protocols to safely reopen borders and loosen the bottleneck caused by supply side stoppages, as well as enhancing health systems for the population to better respond and prepare for future crises. Moreover, they highlighted that a conducive digital economy environment is a key to revitalizing the economy. The Council also presented a white paper which consolidates a set of recommendations that the Ministers may consider in charting their comprehensive recovery plans.
The longstanding engagement of the American businesses with the AEM demonstrates the former’s commitment in advancing ASEAN’s market integration, including through supporting the region’s digital transformation and connectivity, as well as digital skills training for ASEAN SMEs. The Council, in partnership with USAID, is revamping the ASEAN SME Academy website and redoubling its efforts on ASEAN human capital development with the U.S.-ASEAN Internship Program.
The Council and its members also highlighted to the Ministers, the interest and support to ASEAN in championing sustainability initiatives as emerging areas for future collaboration, including through Circular Economy and ESG Finance.
The mission is co-led by Ambassador Ted Osius, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, Simon Dale, Managing Director-South East Asia for Adobe and Chair of the Council’s ASEAN Committee, and Council Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director Ambassador Michael Michalak.
“In these difficult times, the U.S. and U.S. companies continue to stand by the people of ASEAN to support COVID-19 relief efforts, including by delivering personal protective equipment and other critical aid, promoting public campaigns to boost vaccine confidence and tackle misinformation, and supporting ASEAN SMEs through digital transformation through the Council’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force,” said Ambassador Ted Osius. “The Council, through our work with the Global Task Force on Pandemic Response, has also helped mobilize and coordinate the responses of individual U.S. businesses while spearheading collective action on diagnostic tests, oxygen supplies, and home health kits. The private sector stands ready to further support ASEAN in its time of need through industry and U.S. government-led initiatives.”
The AEM was attended by:
- His Excellency Dato Dr. Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Brunei Darussalam and 2021 Chair of AEM
- The Honorable Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative
- H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Kingdom of Cambodia;
- H.E. Muhammad Lutfi, Minister of Trade, Republic of Indonesia;
- H.E. Dr. Khampeng Saysompheng, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR;
- The Honorable Dato Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
- H.E. U Aung Naing Oo, Union Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, Republic of the Union Myanmar;
- The Honorable Ramon Lopez, Secretary of Trade and Industry, Philippines
- H.E. Gan Kim Yong, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore;
- H.E. Dr. Sansern Samalapa, Vice Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
- H.E. Tran Quoc Khanh, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, Vietnam;
- H.E. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN.
US-ABC member companies participating in the mission include Abbott, Adobe, Amazon, Citi, Facebook, FedEx, Ford, Google, Johnson & Johnson, MSD, Netflix, UL, UPS, Visa and VMware.