On July 13, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Siem Reap, Cambodia, to meet with 200 senior government officials and business leaders from the United States and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries at the "Commitment to Connectivity: The U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum" conference. The event was hosted by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The conference brought together public and private sector leaders to address opportunities and challenges that will shape the direction of U.S.-ASEAN economic cooperation. The conference is part of the State Department's ongoing commitment to Economic Statecraft and supporting U.S. businesses abroad.
With the participation of high-level U.S. government officials, ASEAN, and representatives from American businesses ranging from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to large companies that are well established in the region, the forum crafted recommendations for strengthening ASEAN's global competitiveness and enhancing ties between U.S. and ASEAN business communities. Business leaders and policymakers discussed the challenges to developing a regionally-integrated and globally-connected ASEAN Economic Community.
Speaking at a plenary dinner, Secretary Clinton underscored the economic dimension of U.S. engagement in Asia. The Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to economic engagement with ASEAN through public-private partnerships, diplomacy, trade-openness, and development. Promoting U.S. exports and investment in the Asia-Pacific has been a focus of the Secretary's trip.
The conference comes just two days after the Secretary's announcement of the Asia Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative (APSEI), a significant advance in U.S. engagement with the Asia-Pacific region that will promote regional stability, support sustainable development, and foster an inclusive regional economy that will benefit our shared future. With economic integration and trade as a key pillar of the initiative, APSEI played a central role in contributing to the outcome of the conference by strengthening prospects for increased U.S.-ASEAN cooperation.
The Secretary's speech and the participation of U.S. officials and business representatives in the conference demonstrate recognition of the growing importance of Asia to the global economy and the State Department's restructuring of international engagement accordingly, where U.S.-ASEAN commercial relationships play a critical role.
Secretary Clinton is on travel to France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, and Israel. You can follow her trip on www.state.gov.