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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-ASEAN Cooperation

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 22, 2011


The United States is pursuing expanded engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This includes growth in our programs, our official Mission to ASEAN, and high-level engagement. We have renewed our bonds with allies, strengthened bilateral partnerships, and we are broadening our involvement with multilateral institutions. Some highlights of United States-ASEAN cooperation include: 

Senior Official Engagement: The United States is increasing senior official engagement with ASEAN in a number of ways, including:

  • President Barack Obama will represent the United States for the first time as a full member of the East Asia Summit in November in Bali, where he also will host the 3rd ASEAN-United States Leaders Meeting.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has represented the United States at the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit ministerial meetings.
  • The United States hosted the 24th ASEAN-United States Dialogue in July, reflecting the long history of ASEAN-U.S. partnership.
  • In October 2010, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates participated in the inaugural ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus to develop greater regional military cooperation.
  • Ambassador Ron Kirk hosted the ASEAN Trade Ministers in May 2010 for the first U.S.-ASEAN “Road Show,” part of the continuing Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with ASEAN. Also, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis attended the ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting, reaching agreement with ASEAN Trade Ministers on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement work plan for the coming year.
  • The United States opened a mission to ASEAN in 2010 and appointed its first Ambassador to ASEAN, David L. Carden, in April 2011.

Support of ASEAN Agenda: The United States provides funding and expertise for a wide range of programs to support all three ASEAN pillars. Highlights of our assistance include:

  • Political-Security: We have held programs on counterproliferation, run workshops on financial crime and exercises on maritime security, and provided counterterrorism training and assistance to the most vulnerable ASEAN members.
  • Economic: We work to support regional economic integration and greater U.S.-ASEAN trade and investment through implementation of the work plans under the US-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. We also have helped ASEAN develop industrial standards in areas such as pharmaceuticals, electronic and electrical equipment, and construction. We have provided training on trade negotiation and supported public-private sector dialogues.
  • Socio-cultural: To help ASEAN better respond to disasters, we have helped assess member countries’ disaster response teams and provided disaster response coordination training. We have conducted training on animal health and vaccination and response to pandemic disease. We also have conducted journalist exchanges between ASEAN and the United States.
  • The United States continues to work with our partners in the Lower Mekong Initiative (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) to address issues of public health, infrastructure, education, and the environment in the sub-region.

In addition:

  • Non-traditional Security Threats: We are supporting ASEAN’s work plan to address trafficking in persons. We also have provided training to help address drug smuggling and other aspects of international crime.
  • Environmental Sustainability: We are supporting environmental sustainability through programs that focus on creating sustainable and climate resilient cities. Since October 2009, we have provided ASEAN with a resident Climate Change Specialist to help ASEAN craft a climate change work plan.
  • The United States is supporting ASEAN work on trade facilitation through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and U.S. assistance programs.
  • In November 2010 we welcomed the newly-formed ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to the United States to meet human rights institutions within the Organization of American States and the United Nations, as well as with civil society.
  • We look forward to welcoming the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in 2012.

PRN: 2011/1223

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