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 US 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 US joined the East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2011, and institutionalized annual ASEANUS Summits in 2012. In 2015, the US-ASEAN relationship was elevated into a strategic partnership, and in 2016 the first multi-day US-ASEAN Summit was held at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California. In 2017 the US and ASEAN celebrated 40 years as dialogue partners.
The US and ASEAN coordinate on issues ranging from maritime security and terrorism to disaster management, governance, anti-trafficking, and nuclear non-proliferation. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMMPlus) both include the US and discuss important security issues. 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 (FTA), which went into force in 2004, was America’s first FTA in Asia.
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 US and ASEAN.
The US helped ASEAN to set up a public-private body to accelerate the adoption of better aquaculture and fisheries management. The US government sponsors multiple programs to advance the goal of a cleaner, healthier marine environment. The US has also helped provide access to clean drinking water for over 5.6 million people in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar. Since 2012, 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 - in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.