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U.S. Business Expands Engagement with ASEAN Agriculture Ministers on Food Security, Regulatory Harmonization

(Manila) The US-ASEAN Business Council has definitive plans to expand engagement with ASEAN Agricultural Ministers following a recently concluded business mission to the 37th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Manila, Philippines. This was the first business mission to the AMAF in eight years and constitutes a key part of the Council’s Food & Agriculture (F&A) Committee’s engagement with the region. The Council’s delegation of 8 leading U.S. companies was led by Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council and Chair of USABC F&A Committee, Bruce Blakeman, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Cargill.

The delegation hosted the 10 ASEAN Ministers, Senior AMAF Country Leaders and ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Le Luong Minh for a working luncheon providing the regional leaders with snapshots of American business  investments in the agricultural sector, focus areas and plans for expansions within the region. Food security was a key theme encompassing discussions, with companies reinforcing support in facilitating agricultural sector development through transfer of best technology and world class practices.
 
“Engaging the region at the ASEAN agriculture ministers meeting is important this year because of the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on December 31, 2015,” said Feldman. “We are incredibly pleased with the commitment demonstrated by the ASEAN ministers in engaging with U.S. businesses. We came away from the mission with definitive plans to expand our engagement with the ministers on food security and regulatory harmonization. We will be working towards helping countries build science based regulatory frameworks that will institute intellectual property rights in the food processing, agriculture, and animal health sectors. The Council is certain that improving regulatory structures to world class standards will facilitate agricultural trade, which will generate greater economic growth in rural areas and help farmers increase their incomes. This will help bring about inclusive growth in economies which are largely agricultural. We also plan to continue this dialouge by bringing a delegation of companies on a Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Indonesia in the first quarter of 2016. We hope to engage and welcome the participation of officials overseeing the animal health, plant protection, biotechnology, and trade and investments sector during this inaugural mission. The Council’s F&A Committee had also conducted similar industry missions to the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.”
 
“We appreciate the ASEAN agriculture ministers meeting with our companies,” said Bruce Blakeman. “It was a good opportunity to explore how U.S. food and agricultural companies can work together to assist ASEAN countries in meeting their food security and food safety needs. U.S. companies are willing and able to offer our assistance and technical expertise to help ASEAN farmers prosper and make their food supply chains safer for ASEAN families.”
 
The delegation held bilateral meetings with H.E. U Myint Hlaing, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation for Myanmar, H.E. Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development for Vietnam, H.E. Segfredo Serrano, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, Research & Development Regulations in the Philippines Department of Agriculture and Pak Hari Priyono, Secretary General in Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture.
 
The companies participating on the delegation included Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, DuPont, Elanco Animal Health, Monsanto, PMFTC, Syngenta and Yum! Brands, Inc.  
 

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For 30 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, Council Members generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.



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