U.S.-ASEAN Connect (“Connect”) is the U.S. Government’s unified, strategic framework for economic engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Member States. President Obama announced Connect on February 15, 2016, at the historic U.S.-ASEAN special Leaders’ Summit in Sunnylands, California. Connect creates a whole-of-U.S. approach to cooperation in the region by combining the U.S. government and private sector resources and expertise. Connect reflects the United States’ desire to support ASEAN’s continued economic recovery and growth.
Strong economic ties have been at the core of the United States and ASEAN’s relationship for the past four decades. ASEAN countries are collectively the United States’ fourth-largest goods trading partner. Two-way trade in goods and services has tripled since the 1990s and now supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States and ASEAN. U.S. businesses have more than doubled their foreign direct investment (FDI) in ASEAN. They are one of the largest cumulative sources of FDI. U.S. investment in the region not only supports jobs and economic growth – it transfers cutting-edge technology, builds local communities, and strengthens the skill sets of local workers.
Connect is a hub for programs and events that strengthen economic engagement between the U.S. and ASEAN and address the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and ASEAN’s Plan of Action. Connect highlights initiatives for enhancing health systems, securing ASEAN communities, maximizing economic integration, accelerating digital transformation, and building a resilient future for mutually beneficial economic development.
Through U.S.-ASEAN Connect, the U.S. government and private sector strengthen our partnership with ASEAN, supporting ASEAN’s goal of building a dynamic, innovative, sustainable, resilient, and rules-based economic community that benefits all citizens.