Saturday, June 15, 2013

ASEAN, US meet to discuss enhancing trade, investments

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met with US government officials on Thursday to discuss initiatives to expand job-creating trade, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said.

In a statement, the USTR said a high-level US delegation led by acting US Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro met with Asean trade ministers on the sidelines of the last leg and day of the latter's US roadshow. Philippine Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo was part of the ASEAN delegation.

This roadshow by ASEAN--which is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam--began in California and culminated in Washington, D.C.

"The high-level representation reflects the growing importance of US economic ties to ASEAN, which collectively is our fourth largest export market," the USTR said.

According to Sapiro, deepening the ties between the US and the regional bloc is a priority for their government and he is "pleased" that this week's ASEAN Road Show highlighted the opportunities to promote jobs through enhanced trade and investment between the two.

"We believe that [the] discussions will propel our efforts to further our economic partnership, which holds significant promise, especially as Asean works to achieve full regional economic integration by 2015," she added.

During the meeting, ASEAN and US officials discussed "concrete initiatives to deepen their economic ties and create new opportunities that would benefit their businesses and workers," the USTR said.

The trade officials also took note of the inroads made so far in the US-ASEAN Enhanced Economic Engagement Initiative launched last year.

Asean and US officials also expressed support to make the World Trade Organization Ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia in December a success.

The regional bloc was the US' fourth biggest export market and fifth largest trading partner last year with two-way goods trade reaching $198 billion.

In 2011, ASEAN-US trade in services countries hit $30 billion, while over $159-billion worth of US foreign direct investment were infused into the region, the latest USTR data showed. - Interaksyon

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