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Joint Media Statement on the AEM-USTR Consultations

September 10, 2019

1. The Economic Ministers from all ASEAN Member States (AMS) and the United States Trade Representative (“the Ministers”) held consultations on 9 September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Consultations were co-chaired by H.E. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand and H.E. Jeffrey D. Gerrish, Deputy United States Trade Representative for Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Industrial Competitiveness (representing H.E. Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative).

2. Based on preliminary ASEAN data, the total merchandise trade between ASEAN and the United States maintained a stable growth of 11.2 per cent, reaching USD 260.6 billion in 2018, while the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows from the United States to ASEAN amounted to USD 8.1 billion. These placed the United States as ASEAN’s third largest trading partner and fourth largest external source of FDI among ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners.

3. The Ministers noted the progress in the implementation of the 2018-2019 ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiatives Work Plan. The Ministers appreciated the support from the new US technical assistance program for ASEAN, namely ASEAN-USAID Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade, and E-Commerce (IGNITE) for activities under the TIFA/E3 Work Plan, including the Technical Workshop on Digital Trade which improved mutual understanding of ASEAN and the U.S. on the importance of digital trade and appropriate regulatory environment for new cooperation on electric vehicles and associated infrastructure.

4. The Ministers also welcomed the contribution of ASEAN-USAID IGNITE to bring on board the rest of the ASEAN Member States in the live operation ASEAN Single Window (ASW) by the end of this year. The Ministers expressed further appreciation for the United States’ role in supporting dialogue on opportunities to facilitate trade with the United States through the eventual expansion of the ASW. The Ministers were encouraged by the outcomes of the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Trade, Labor, and Environment, which was conducted on 15-16 August 2019, with the support from IGNITE. The Dialogue not only enhanced awareness and understanding of relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies on these new issues in FTAs but also provided an interactive platform for ASEAN cross-sectoral/pillars dialogue and interaction.

5. The Ministers welcomed the progress in the implementation of the U.S.-ASEAN Connect framework in the four areas of energy, innovation, policy and business. The Ministers commended the continuity of the U.S.-ASEAN Internship Program which is jointly conducted by U.S.-ASEAN Connect and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), offering internship opportunities in U.S. companies operating in seven ASEAN countries. The Ministers also looked forward to the expansion of the internship program to all ASEAN countries and to US companies operating outside the ASEAN region.

6. The Ministers looked forward to the ASEAN Economic Ministers-Telecommunication Ministers Roadshow on Digital Economy which will be held on 18-22 November 2019. The Ministers expressed appreciation to the USABC for its support and encouraged continued private sector feedback in promoting stronger business and trade ties between the U.S. and ASEAN business communities.



1. H.E. Dato Dr. Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II;

2. H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;

3. H.E. Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade, Indonesia;

4. H.E. Mrs. Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR;

5. H.E. Darell Leiking, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;

6. H.E. Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, Myanmar;

7. H.E. Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Undersecretary, Department of Trade and Industry (representing H.E. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of Trade and Industry, Philippines;

8. H.E. Gabriel Lim, Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry (representing H.E. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore);

9. H.E. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand;

10. H.E. Jeffrey D. Gerrish, Deputy United States Trade Representative (representing H.E. Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative);

11. H.E. Tran Quoc Khanh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (representing H.E. Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam; and

12. H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN.