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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  27 August 2015  

U.S. Business Engages ASEAN Economic Ministers on Integration, SME Development

(Kuala Lumpur) The US-ASEAN Business Council concluded its annual business mission to the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting today. This is the 16th consecutive year the Council has held its annual consultation with all 10 ASEAN Economic Ministers. United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman chaired the consultation as part of the AEM-USTR Dialogue.  The Council’s delegation of 15 leading U.S. companies was led by Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
The delegation presented the AEMs with a white paper on U.S. business priority action items for ASEAN Integration and a Post-2015 agenda. The white paper took a sector by sector look at key areas where ASEAN countries could take action to improve the environment for business and attract more foreign investment.
“As we polled our members, we found four key issues that came up again and again in virtually every sector,” said Feldman. “Our members called for ASEAN Members to: Recognize Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), standards, and testing; Implement existing ASEAN Blue Prints commitments, especially the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), and the ASEAN Single Window; Consult with stakeholders; and Harmonize FTA’s and implementing regulations. Taken together, those four items, Recognize, Implement, Consult, and Harmonize, create the acronym RICH, which represents the desire of U.S. business to help ASEAN continue to become more wealthy and create more inclusive growth.”
The delegation also presented a report on the accomplishments of the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, a partnership between the Council and its members and USAID.
“The Business Alliance has now held events in all 10 ASEAN countries, serving more than 3500 ASEAN entrepreneurs, more than half of whom are women,” said Shiumei Lin, Vice President of Public Affairs for UPS and Vice-Chair of the Council’s ASEAN Committee. “We look forward to conducting more capacity building, including programs aimed at providing SMEs the tools to enter global supply chains in key priority sectors like Retail, e-commerce, automotive, ICT, and healthcare.”
The delegation also held bilateral meetings with H.E. Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister of international Trade and Industry of Malaysia and current AEM chair, H.E. Pehin Lim, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei, H.E. Khemmani Pholsena, the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Laos, H.E. Thomas Lembong, the Minister of Trade of Indonesia, H.E. Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia, H.E.Thawatchai Sophastienphong, Director General of  the Department of Trade Negotiation of the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand, H.E. J. Jayasiri, Malaysia’s Chief TPP Negotiatior and Senior Director of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, H.E. Le Luong Minh, the ASEAN Secretary General, Ambassador Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative, and U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian.  The delegation also met with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to discuss joint strategies for supporting the development of the regional business environment.
The companies participating on the delegation included The Coca-Cola Company, FedEx, Ford, GE, GM, HP, Johnson & Johnson, KKR, Metlife, Syngenta, Time Warner, UL, UPS, Visa, and Walmart.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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