(Siem Reap, Cambodia) - An unprecedented group of government and business leaders from the United States and ASEAN gathered today in Siem Reap for the first ever US-ASEAN Business Forum.
Entitled C2C, or, Commitment to Connectivity, the conference focused on crafting recommendations for strengthening ASEAN’s connectivity agenda and enhancing ties between the US and ASEAN business communities. The event created opportunities for senior business executives from the US and ASEAN to work directly with US and ASEAN government officials on plans to support the continuing development of ASEAN as a single, sustainable market of 600 million plus consumers. The day was headlined by keynote speeches from US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, President of Myanmar Thein Sein, and Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra, and was organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The ASEAN Connectivity initiative encompasses both local and global integration efforts, and includes traditional infrastructure efforts like roads and ports as well as the digital infrastructure, healthcare and education needed to support 21st century business and grow greater people to people linkages. Companies engaged in this effort include major international conglomerates as well as representatives of the emerging SME’s who form the backbone of global economic growth.
Participating ASEAN government officials included Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, President of Myanmar Thein Sein, and Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra. The United States was represented by Secretary Clinton, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Administration Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats, and 9 American Ambassadors stationed in ASEAN. A wide range of CEO’s and top executives from leading companies in both ASEAN and the US also joined the dialogue.
“ASEAN’s importance to US business cannot be overstated,” said Alexander Feldman, the President of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “The progress made on the connectivity agenda will be a major factor in how successful ASEAN is at achieving regional economic integration, further growing its economies, and attracting trade and investment from around the world. American companies eager to play a role in this development by bringing their unique blend of high-quality goods and services, technology, and training to bear on partnerships in ASEAN. Today’s conference is a major step in connecting American and ASEAN companies who can work towards creating projects to increase ASEAN connectivity together.”
ASEAN ranks as the 4th largest export market for the United States. US-ASEAN trade has grown 60% since 2002, including 10.4% in 2011. All ten bilateral trading relationships are growing. ASEAN hosts by far the largest stock of US investment in Asia, nearly three times more than China.
The event was sponsored by many of the US companies who have pioneered business engagement in ASEAN, including Boeing, Caterpillar, Chevron, DHL, Oracle, Peabody Energy, P&G, Ace, Black and Veatch, the Coca-Cola Company, GE, and Google, and was co-hosted by the U.S Chamber of Commerce.