On November 18, 2011, President Obama met with the leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations to review our cooperation on building greater economic, security, and people-to-people ties with an important region and a key Asian multilateral organization. With a population of approximately 580 million and a combined GDP of $1.5 trillion, ASEAN is the United States’ fourth largest export market, includes two treaty allies, one of our closest security partners, and several emerging regional powers, and sits astride some of the world’s most important trading routes and sea lines of communication.
Leaders adopted the Five-year ASEAN-United States Plan of Action, a roadmap for expanding our strategic cooperation. The Plan of Action includes collaborative projects in three main areas—political and security, economic and trade, and socio-cultural cooperation.
Going forward, the United States will work with ASEAN through the US-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Work Plan to build on existing work on trade facilitation and ongoing dialogues on trade and environment and trade finance by introducing new initiatives on digital connectivity and trade and investment in healthcare services, agribusiness, and consumer goods.
The United States and Brunei announced the United States Partnership with ASEAN on English Language Education. This ambitious, five-year, $25 million initiative, supported by the governments of Brunei and Singapore with the East-West Center in Hawaii as an implementing coordinator, reflects a commitment to help unify the diverse members of ASEAN, improve English language capacity, and advance educational and teaching opportunities in the region.
The United States is supporting the launch of the ASEAN youth volunteers program and sponsorship a visit by the Volunteers and the ASEAN Commission on Women and Children the U.S. next April to connect with U.S. civil society groups on best practices.
The United States, under President Obama’s global Feed the Future initiative and through the ASEAN Secretariat, will support a program to promote the role of the private sector and public-private dialogue on food security policies and solutions.
The United States announced plans to launch an initiative enabling US Trade and Development Agency to bring the best of U.S. business to ASEAN in a first, major commercial outreach to discuss upcoming connectivity infrastructure projects and the role for U.S. business.
The United States proposed the creation a Southeast Asia Maritime Partnership (SAMP), which will provide a multi-agency approach to cooperation and capacity building on maritime awareness, management and security.
The United States and ASEAN will work together to launch the “ASEAN Single Window” pilot program, a trade facilitation project to expedite cargo clearance. When fully operational, this will be the world’s first regional integrated cargo-clearance system.
ASEAN leaders, supported by the United States as an Asian Development Bank (ADB) member, will create an ASEAN Infrastructure Fund. ASEAN governments, supported by ADB members, will contribute to the fund to help underwrite infrastructure projects in the region. The initial fund of $600 million will support infrastructure projects aimed at creating an integrated ASEAN community, and will provide expanded opportunities for U.S. businesses to participate in ASEAN infrastructure projects in the energy, transportations, and information and communications technology sectors.
President Obama announced the three U.S. members of the U.S.-ASEAN Eminent Persons Group: Stapleton Roy, Charlene Barshefsky, and Muhtar Kent, fulfilling a commitment he made with ASEAN leaders in 2009. The group will deliver recommendations to the Leaders ahead of the next ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting.
Leaders welcomed the successful conclusion of negotiations to enable the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China to accede to the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) protocol, and agreed to take the necessary steps to enable the signing of the protocol and its entry into force by these states at the earliest opportunity.
The ten ASEAN Leaders are Sultan Hassanal of Brunei, President Thein Sein of Burma (Myanmar), Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Thongsing of Laos, Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, President Aquino of the Philippines, Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, Prime Minister Yingluck of Thailand, and Prime Minister Dung of Vietnam, as well as ASEAN Secretary General Surin.