The First ASEAN-U.S. Eminent Persons Group (EPG) that was successfully held in Manila, the Philippines, undertook the mandate bestowed by the Leaders of ASEAN and the US to recommend ways and means to enhance ASEAN-US relations to a new high. The meeting under the co-chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Rodolfo Certeza Severino, EPG of the Philippines, and H.E. Mr. J. Stapleton Roy, EPG of the U.S., focused on potential activities to enhance relations including in trade and investment, political security, and cooperation on regional and global issues for the coming years. Other areas highlighted for enhanced cooperation included peace and security, investment, people-to-people exchanges, sports, education, and connectivity.

The EPGs from both sides agreed on the importance of elevating ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations to a higher level. They shared the significance of long-term U.S. commitments to the region. While highlighting the importance of economic and trade cooperation, they emphasized on people-to-people exchanges.

The ASEAN-U.S. Eminent Persons Group was established upon the decision made by the Leaders of ASEAN and the U.S. on 15 September 2009 to take stock of ASEAN-U.S. relations and explore ways to deepen and widen the existing cooperation between ASEAN and the United States as well as to recommend measures for deepening ASEAN-U.S. relations in the future. The recommendations will be submitted to the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting for their reference.

The Second ASEAN-U.S. EPG Meeting is scheduled to be held tentatively in September 2012.