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Joint Statement on the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)-USTR Consultations
August 24, 2015
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1. Consultations between the ten ASEAN Economic Ministers and the United States Trade Representative (“the Ministers”) were held on 24 August 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Consultations were co-chaired by H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade & Industry of Malaysia and H.E. Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative.
2. The Ministers were pleased to note the strong growth in trade relations between ASEAN and the United States of America (U.S.). Total merchandise trade between ASEAN and the U.S. in 2014 stood at USD 212.4 billion. The U.S. maintained its position as ASEAN’s fourth biggest trading partner, while ASEAN was the fourth largest U.S. export market and trading partner.
3. In term of investment, the U.S. has moved up its ranking to become the third largest foreign direct investor in ASEAN. According to ASEAN Statistics, the region received USD 13 billion of new direct investment from the U.S. in 2014. According to U.S. statistics, cumulative foreign direct investment in ASEAN Member States was USD 204 billion in 2013, up 9.1 per cent from 2012.
4. The U.S. welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of this year, which will enhance ASEAN Member States’ competitiveness and strengthen their economies regionally and globally, and expressed the hope that the AEC would make ASEAN a driving force for global trade and investment liberalization.
ASEAN- US Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA)
5. The Ministers noted the activities implemented under the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiatives Work Plan for 2015. ASEAN Ministers expressed their appreciation to the U.S. for the continued support through the USAID’s project “ASEAN Connectivity Through Trade and Investment (ACTI)”, particularly in the area of ASEAN Single Window (ASW), SMEs, trade facilitation and standard conformance, which included the following, among others:
i. Support major milestones in the development of the ASW;
ii. Development of the ASEAN Online SME Academy;
iii. Launch of the GREAT Women in ASEAN Initiative which provides support to women entrepreneurs;
iv. Various workshops and conferences for SMEs since August 2014 on access to finance, good business practices, regional supply chain integration and, empowering women entrepreneurs; and
v. ASEAN Member State regulator and industry training programs on medical devices.
6. The Ministers thanked the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, a partnership between the US-ASEAN Business Council and USAID, in providing support to these SME programmes. The Ministers also noted the increasing interest of U.S. businesses in doing trade and investment in ASEAN, which was showcased through the healthcare and medical technology trade missions to Indonesia and the Philippines led by U.S. Department of Commerce in February 2015.
7. The Ministers noted the on-going discussions on the Shared Principles for International Investment, the Trade Principles on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and ASEAN-US Best Practices on Transparency and Good Regulatory Practices.
ASEAN-US Trade and Environment Dialogue
8. The Ministers welcomed the upcoming first workshop on Trade and Environment Dialogue, which will be hosted by Malaysia, tentatively in October 2015. The Minister noted that the focus for the first workshop would be on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, and encouraged active discussions on topics for the Dialogue.
New Areas of Cooperation
9. The Ministers agreed to explore expanding our TIFA/E3 cooperation to new topics that have a regional impact and are of mutual interest. The Ministers also recognized recent efforts at broadening overall ASEAN-U.S. economic engagement by solidifying institutional links with ASEAN’s sectoral bodies through new Dialogues on Telecommunications and Aviation.
10. The ASEAN Ministers welcomed the 3rd AEM Roadshow to the US, jointly organised by the USTR and the US-ASEAN Business Council in the first quarter of 2016.
Dialogue with US-ASEAN Business Council
11. The Ministers noted the activities undertaken by the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), and welcomed its support to facilitate trade and investment between ASEAN and the U.S.
WTO 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya
12. Recognizing the important opportunity the meeting represents, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to seek to conclude the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) at the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and revitalize the multilateral trading system. The Ministers agreed on the importance of WTO members in ensuring the entry into force of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation by the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015.
LIST OF MINISTERS
1. The Hon. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam;
2. H.E. Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State for Commerce, Cambodia (representing H.E. Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia);
3. Mrs Sondang Anggraini, Adviser to the Minister on Trade and Diplomacy, Ministry of Trade, Indonesia (representing H.E. Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Minister of Trade, Indonesia);
4. H.E. Mrs Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR;
5. H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
6. H.E. Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar;
7. H.E. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines;
8. Mrs Ow Foong Pheng, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore (representing H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore);
9. Mr Thawatchai Sophastienphong, Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand (representing H.E.Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya, Minister of Commerce, Thailand);
10. H.E. Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative;
11. H.E. Nguyen Cam Tu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam (representing H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam;
12. H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN