On Monday morning in Seattle, WA, Ambassador Kirk participated in the kickoff event of the three day U.S. "Road Show" featuring trade and economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Ambassador Kirk was joined at the National Bureau of Research by several ASEAN ministers including Dr. Mari Pangestu of Indonesia, Mr. Mustapa Mohamed of Malaysia, Mr. Lim Jock Seng of Brunei, and Dr. Nam Viyaketh of Laos, as well as by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton of Washington, and Alexander Feldman of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
The purpose of the ministers' "road show" is to give American business leaders the chance to meet ASEAN trade ministers first-hand and explore opportunities in the ASEAN region while leaders discuss trade and investment opportunities between the U.S. and ASEAN countries, as well as ASEAN's efforts at regional economic integration - an effort the United States supports, as it would make it easier and cheaper for American companies to do business in the ASEAN region and to support well-paying jobs here at home. The United States has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with ASEAN, under which USTR seeks to increase opportunities that support jobs here at home while increasing economic opportunity in the ASEAN region as well.
U.S. goods exports to the 10 countries of ASEAN totaled $53.8 billion in 2009. The ASEAN countries together were the United States' fourth-biggest export market last year.
Ambassador Kirk with former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) and Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu of Indonesia.
Ambassador Kirk and participants at the U.S.-ASEAN breakfast in Seattle, WA.