The latest edition of the ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN publication was launched on Wednesday, April 9th with an event on Capitol Hill in Washington. Produced jointly by the East-West Center in Washington, the US-ASEAN Business Council and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ASEAN Matters highlights all aspects of the US-ASEAN relationship, including analysis of trade and investment levels, mutual travel and tourism rates, student exchanges, and security alliances, among other things. The publication highlights state- and congressional district-level facts and figures to illustrate the importance of the relationship on a local level.
Wednesday’s event included remarks by US Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Congressman Ed Royce of California. Both spoke of the importance of engagement with Asia and the Southeast Asia region in particular. Senator Cardin described the contents of the new booklet as critical in describing the economic potential of ASEAN and in highlighting the state-by-state importance of ASEAN to the US. Congressman Royce, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, gave a valuable reminder to the audience that, as a Pacific nation, the US should view Asia as the Near West, rather than as the Far East.
Several experts also gave testimony on different aspects of the US-ASEAN relationship. Catherine Novelli, Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, discussed the different ways in which the US is engaging with ASEAN. Acknowledging the infrastructure needs of ASEAN as highlighted in the new publication, she discussed several new initiatives by the US government to provide energy infrastructure to the region. Meredith Miller, Senior Vice President of Trade, Economic, and Energy Affair & Outreach at the National Bureau of Asian Research, discussed the dynamism of Southeast Asia and the rapidly deepening trade ties between ASEAN and the US, as well as between ASEAN and other nations. Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department also gave remarks, and highlighted the tremendous importance of the people-to-people, educational and commercial exchanges that have flourished in the US-ASEAN relationship. Mr. Marciel formerly served as the first US ambassador to ASEAN and participated in the launch of the first ASEAN Matters publication.
Dr. Satu Limaye moderated the panel as the Director of the East-West Center in Washington and creator of the Asia Matters for America initiative, of which ASEAN Matters is the latest installment.
The new booklet can be downloaded in PDF format here.