JAKARTA, 29 April 2016 – ASEAN and the U.S. reaffirmed their strong determination to further deepen their cooperation. This commitment was made at the 7th ASEAN-U.S. Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting held at the ASEAN Secretariat yesterday. This is the first JCC to be held since the elevation of the ASEAN-U.S. partnership to a strategic level in November 2015 and the successful convening of the ASEAN-U.S. Special Leaders’ Summit in Sunnylands, California last February.

The meeting took stock of the cooperation under the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership (POA) 2016-2020 and noted the positive achievements made in the first four months of this year. Both sides also reaffirmed key principles in guiding the cooperation, including upholding the principles of international law as well as the respect and support for ASEAN centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms. The U.S. highlighted their support for the continued development of a rules-based regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific.

Further, there was substantive discussion on advancing cooperation under the five priority areas within the ambit of the three ASEAN Community pillars, namely transnational challenges, maritime cooperation, economic integration, fostering emerging leaders and women opportunities.  The discussion covered ways to address transnational challenges including trafficking in persons, wildlife trafficking and cyber security.

With the signing of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the Meeting welcomed the U.S.’ Aviation and Border Security Programme which was announced by President Obama at the Sunnylands Summit. The Meeting also noted the U.S.’ initiative in supporting ASEAN’s efforts in addressing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing through its cooperation with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre and its efforts to strengthen regional, sustainable fisheries management.

Both sides welcomed the launch of the U.S.-ASEAN Connect at the Sunnylands Summit to deepen economic engagement between the two sides and looked forward to the establishment of the ASEAN Connect Centres in Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok. The importance of strengthening small and medium enterprises which serve as a key driver for economic development was also highlighted.

ASEAN and the U.S. noted the importance of fostering emerging leaders, especially through the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative. The meeting also welcomed the U.S.’ initiative to establish a U.S.-ASEAN Women Leadership Academy to equip women with leadership skills.

ASEAN and the U.S. looked forward to the commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations next year and will come up with a series of activities to mark the occasion.

The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Dato’ Hasnudin Hamzah, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to ASEAN, and H.E. Nina Hachigian, Ambassador of the United States to ASEAN, and attended by the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and the ASEAN Secretariat.