JAKARTA, 17 March 2021 – The Biden Administration is looking to further strengthen its Strategic Partnership with ASEAN through expanding cooperation in a number of mutually beneficial areas, including in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States made this commitment at the 12th Meeting of the ASEAN-U.S. Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held virtually today.
The U.S. also conveyed its readiness to actively participate and contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity through ASEAN-led regional mechanisms.
At the meeting, officials from both sides took note that the long-standing partnership has expanded to cover a wide range of areas under the three ASEAN Community pillars. Taking stock of ASEAN-U.S. cooperation, they also noted the full implementation of the ASEAN-U.S. Plan of Action (2016-2020) and the positive progress made in the implementation of the new Plan of Action (2021-2025), which will continue to support ASEAN’s Community building efforts.
In discussing priority areas of cooperation, ASEAN and the U.S. agreed to further deepen collaboration in the areas of trade and investment; human capital development; public health; environment and climate change; innovation and digital economy; and sustainable development, among others.
The meeting highlighted the importance of collaboration towards post COVID-19 recovery, and ensuring fair, equitable and global access of vaccines. ASEAN welcomed U.S.’ interest to contribute to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, as well as cooperation through initiatives such as the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.
ASEAN officials looked forward to U.S.’ continued support for ASEAN’s Community-building efforts through its development cooperation programmes such as; the Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade and E-Commerce (IGNITE); the Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT), as well as narrowing development gaps in the region through the Mekong-U.S. Partnership.
Furthermore, officials from both sides looked forward to the full and effective implementation of the Regional Development Cooperation Agreement between ASEAN and the USAID, which was signed last year.
The Permanent Representative of Lao PDR to ASEAN Ambassador Ekkaphab Phanthavong and Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN Melissa J. Brown co-chaired the meeting. The Permanent Representatives of ASEAN Member States or their representatives, as well as officials from the ASEAN Secretariat and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN were also present.
* * * *