ASEAN Member States Are Key Diplomatic, Economic, and Security Partners for the US
The US-ASEAN relationship began in 1977 and has since expanded significantly. The United States signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in 2009 and was the first non-ASEAN country to establish a resident ambassador and permanent mission to the organization. The United States joined the East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2011, and began to hold annual ASEAN-US Summits in 2012. In 2015, the US-ASEAN relationship was raised to a strategic partnership, and in 2016 the first leader-level US-ASEAN Summit in the United States was held at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California. In 2017, the United States and ASEAN celebrated 40 years as dialogue partners.
The United States and ASEAN coordinate on efforts ranging from maritime security and counter-terrorism to disaster management, governance, anti-trafficking, and nuclear non-proliferation. The United States and ASEAN discuss and coordinate security activities through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus). Economic ties were formalized with the US-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2006. The US Trade Representative (USTR) also participates in annual consultations during the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meetings. The US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which went into force in 2004, was America’s first FTA in the Indo-Pacific.
The US-ASEAN Connect framework is a strategic economic initiative organized around four pillars: business, energy, innovation, and policy. Its goal is to support regional integration efforts of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and build upon the positive economic ties between the United States and ASEAN.
The United States is also working with ASEAN member states on maritime security and domain awareness through the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative that provides both training, equipment, and cooperative activities. The United States has also helped provide access to clean drinking water to over 5.6 million people, and grants from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have protected 64 million acres of forest lands and coastal areas – an area roughly the size of Oregon.