KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- The US business community has expanded its
commitment to South-East Asia by launching the US-Asean Business Council’s
first official Asean committee during the Asean Economic Ministers Meeting
(AEM) in Manado, Indonesia today.
The committee, chaired by Procter & Gamble vice-president for Asean, Sam
Kim, will channel US private sector support for Asean economic integration and
capacity building for member states and the Asean secretariat, the US-Asean
Business Council said in a press release made available here.
The council announced the formation of the committee during its dialogue
with the ten Asean economic ministers and Deputy US Trade Representative (USTR),
Ambassador Demetrious Marantis.
The council is the only US-based organisation which is annually invited to
the AEM Meeting.
It represents over 100 major US corporations, ranging from those who have
been active in South-East Asia for over 100 years to newcomers looking to expand
their presence in one of the world’s most dynamic markets
Mari Elka Pangestu, who is the AEM Chair this year and also Indonesia''s
Trade Minister, told the council''s representatives that the AEM and the USTR had
agreed to organise a roadshow to the US to promote Asean to the US business
community; as well as an Asean-US Business Forum next year.
"It is crucial to include both government and business sectors in such
initiatives to strengthen and deepen economic integration between Asean and the
"The Business Forum is expected to focus on the selected business sectors
that Asean and the US have mutual interests, among others," Mari said.
Meanwhile, Sam Kim said that this was a critical period for Asean, pointing
out that the Asean leaders had recognised that the region can unlock its vast
economic potential by becoming an Asean Economic Community as a single market
and production base.
"They have laid some impressive groundwork. The key now is for Asean to
continue successfully implement its plans for harmonisation across the
region, which includes executing the Asean Connectivity Master Plan, Single
Window, the Logistics Roadmap, and common standards throughout the region in
sectors such as food, consumer products, digital technology and healthcare," he
He said the US-Asean Business Council’s Asean committee would organise
the US private sector’s support for these efforts.
Council president, Alexander Feldman, said Asean’s successful integration
would create a market of 600 million people across ten countries.
"If it were a single nation, it would be the world’s third most populous.
"The council has been working with Asean for almost 27 years, but the
upcoming economic integration makes this the perfect time to step up our
engagement" he said.
He said Asean was on the verge of becoming a global household name, and
the US private sector was committed to supporting Asean’s growth, through
capacity building for member states and the secretariat, and initiatives focused
on key growth sectors like infrastructure, healthcare, financial services and
information and communications technology.
The council’s delegation to the AEM meeting includes Procter & Gamble,
Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Cargill, FedEx Express, GE, Google,
Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Syngenta, UPS and White
The council''s delegation will participate in the Asean Trade Facilitation
Forum in Manado tomorrow.
Indonesia''s Vice President Boediona opened the five-day 43rd AEM meeting
and its related meetings on Wednesday. -- BERNAMA