U.S.-ASEAN Connect is a new strategic, unifying framework to deepen the United States’ growing economic cooperation with ASEAN. President Obama announced Connect on February 15, 2016, at the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Sunnylands, CA. Connect will support regional integration efforts of the new ASEAN Economic Community and build upon the positive economic ties between the U.S. and ASEAN. Together, ASEAN countries are the fourth-largest trading partner for the United States supporting millions of jobs in the region and in America. U.S. businesses are the largest cumulative source of FDI in ASEAN.
Connect will deepen our relationship and deliver assistance, programming, trade and investment. It is organized around four pillars, under which we are excited to announce new programs and activities. For a complete picture of all the Connect engagements the U.S. government is involved with, please see this White House U.S.-ASEAN Connect fact sheet.
Our official U.S. ASEAN Connect and U.S. Business Council Internship Program, aim to provide an opportunity to match U.S. private sector needs to ASEAN students and young professionals seeking internships in the region.
Connect will bring together all the resources and expertise of the U.S. government and private sector to create a whole-of- U.S. approach to economic engagement with ASEAN. Connect will deepen our relationship and deliver assistance, programming, trade and investment. Together we will support ASEAN’s goal to build an integrated, dynamic, innovative, sustainable, resilient and rules-based economic community that benefits all citizens of the region– because that future will benefit us both. Early programs under Connect will focus on clean energy, digital economy, SMEs, and support for young innovators and entrepreneurs.
(Digital Expert Traveling Speaker – Brunei and Indonesia, November 2017)
Kevin McDonald, a digital policy expert from Georgetown University, traveled to Brunei Darussalam to meet with various audiences including YSEALI members, Bruneian officials, and business communities to discuss about cyber security and digital economy growth. U.S. ASEAN Connect hosted a meeting with Dr. Timothy Buehrer from ASEAN-US Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI), which supports the ASEAN Single Window, trade facilitation, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), energy, and ICT development, and Dr. Budi Yuwono, a Senior Officer of the Secretariat’s ICT and Tourism Division.
Effective economic engagement requires coordination to utilize the wide variety of expertise and resources the United States has to offer. We are collaborating across U.S. government agencies and offices, and are deepening cooperation with the U.S. private sector to deliver programming, events, and assistance to promote inclusive economic growth and encourage improvements in the rule of law and the business climate.