Washington, D.C. - Today ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) met to discuss the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) and the importance of the trade relationship between the United States and ASEAN. Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis led the U.S. delegation and noted that the United States is working together closely with ASEAN members to strengthen the bilateral trade relationship and support ASEAN’s economic integration, which will benefit both ASEAN economies and its U.S. business partners.
Ambassador Marantis issued the following statement:
“We have just concluded discussions on the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement and the work plan we are pursuing. This dialogue is important to both sides,” said Ambassador Marantis. “For the United States, a lot of Americans owe their jobs to exports to this dynamic and growing region of the world. We are here to increase cooperation and find new economic opportunities for all of our businesses.”
The United States and ASEAN are working on a wide range of items under their TIFA work plan intended to expand trade and investment between them, serve as building blocks to potential future trade agreements, and advance issues of interest to both sides. Among these are initiatives on customs and trade facilitation, trade finance, trade and the environment, and standards. They also are working to develop a business-government dialogue, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.
ASEAN countries together comprised America’s fourth largest goods export market last year. ASEAN also is a significant export market for U.S. farmers and ranchers, with over $6 billion worth of agricultural exports to the region in 2009. ASEAN is a ten-member association including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma. It is seeking to establish a single economic market by 2015.
Today’s meeting was part of the first U.S.-ASEAN Road Show. On May 3, the group had a series of meetings in Seattle with the Washington State congressional delegation, Governor Christine Gregoire, members of their respective business communities and academics.