BANGKOK, THAILAND – Senior officials from the United States and the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met today to discuss a proposed work plan as they prepare for the U.S.-ASEAN trade ministers’ and leaders' meetings later this year in the Philippines. The United States also used the opportunity to outline the Trump Administration's trade agenda and the priority it places on enhancing ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The two sides discussed proposals for advancing work under the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement, including related to digital trade and ways to support the participation of small- and medium-sized enterprises in global trade. The United States also provided an update on activities under U.S.-ASEAN Connect, a U.S. initiative intended to deepen economic cooperation with ASEAN.
The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and included officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. On the ASEAN side, the meeting was chaired by Anna Maria Rosario Diaz Robeniol, Assistant Secretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, as well as senior officials from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The United States and ASEAN have strong trade ties. Taken together, the ASEAN member states are the fourth largest trading partner of the United States, with $234 billion in two-way goods trade.