The Philippine Star
Asia Society launches white paper on US-ASEAN partnership
The “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy of the United States has underscored the important role played by the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). With its immense population of 630 million plus a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion and an annual growth rate of over five percent, ASEAN is poised to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050.
As the current chair of the ASEAN Committee in Washington (ACW), the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC hosted the recent launch of the Asia Society Policy Institute’s (ASPI’s) white paper on “The Role of the US-ASEAN Partnership on Building a Free and Open Indo-Pacific” at the Philippine Chancery Annex Building. ACW is a very solid and cohesive group composed of ASEAN ambassadors to the US, and we regularly meet to discuss the issues concerning the regional group and elevate its profile among key US legislators, government officials and private sector groups.
Joining us during the launch were State Department officials led by acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State W. Patrick Murphy, ASEAN diplomats, the US-ASEAN Business Council led by its president and CEO Alex Feldman, and members of Asia Society that include Ambassador John
Negroponte, ASPI vice president and managing director Wendy Cutler, and Lindsey Ford, who is the principal author of the white paper. Also present were Danny Meza, legislative director of the office of Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro (co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN), Singapore Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Sheryl
Shum and Asia Society Global chair and Singapore Ambassador-at-large Chang Heng Chee.
In her presentation, Asia Society president and CEO Josette Sheeran underscored the importance of facilitating exchanges and discussion to foster mutual understanding between the regional bloc and the US.
As we pointed out to the key stakeholders present, the white paper will be very valuable as we chart where our cooperation should lead in the coming years especially considering the many challenges and opportunities that are prevalent and foreseeable in the dynamic region.