ASEAN-US Joint Cooperation Committee convenes 10th meeting

The 10th meeting of the ASEAN-US Joint Cooperation Committee took place in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 28, focusing on evaluating projects and cooperation activities within the ASEAN-US strategic partnership.

Delegates at the meeting (Photo: Vietnamese permanent mission to ASEAN)

Delegates at the meeting (Photo: Vietnamese permanent mission to ASEAN)

At the annual meeting at ambassador level, ASEAN member countries and the US shared positive assessments of progress in ASEAN-US relations over the years as well as the implementation of collaboration activities in the ASEAN-US Plan for 2016-2020 in many areas, which has made the bilateral partnership both more practical and effective.

Along with contributing to ASEAN regional cooperation mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus (ADMM ) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), the US has conducted several activities in collaboration with ASEAN in maritime security, cyber security and the settlement of trans-national challenges such as terrorism and natural disasters.

In terms of economics, ASEAN and the US have worked together to realise the commitments of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative, contributing to enhancing bilateral trade ties, promoting investment and developing small and medium-sized enterprises, they said.

The US is the third largest trade partner of ASEAN with two-way trade exceeding US$233 billion in 2017. The US is also the fourth biggest direct investor of the bloc with total investment of $5.4 billion in 2017.

At the same time, development assistance programmes funded by the US have supported ASEAN’s efforts in narrowing development gaps, strengthening intra-bloc connectivity and reinforcing the ASEAN Community through a number of initiatives such as ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI), ASEAN-US Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security Programme (US-PROGRESS) and ASEAN Single Window.

ASEAN member countries highly valued the US’s initiatives in education and training, including the ASEAN Volunteer Youth Programme, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Fulbright scholarship and Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) training programme.

Going forward, ASEAN and the US will prioritise implementing decisions made at the ASEAN-US summits in 2017 and 2018, while seeking cooperation priorities in the future.

The US affirmed that it attaches great attention to affiliate with the ASEAN and emphasised the association’s role in implementing the Indo-Pacific strategy, as well as the central role of the grouping in ASEAN-led mechanisms.

The US will continue strengthening comprehensive partnership with the ASEAN through the action plan and new programmes, including the ASEAN-US Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT) programme, and the Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade and E-Commerce (IGNITE), and the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development Programme.

On the occasion, the US thanked Vietnam for hosting the second DPRK-USA Summit. The hosting showed the role of the country and ASEAN in promoting dialogue, constructing and maintaining peace, stability and security in the region.

The US will continue supporting efforts and role of ASEAN in negotiating for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea with China and ensuring maritime security and safety in the East Sea as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

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