The U.S.-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 9, 2013

On October 9 at the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, Secretary John Kerry and leaders of the ten ASEAN states recognized progress in the first year of the “U.S.-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement” (E3) initiative – a framework for economic cooperation designed to expand trade and investment ties between the United States and ASEAN, creating new business opportunities and jobs in all eleven countries.

With a population of approximately 620 million and a combined GDP of over $2.2 trillion, ASEAN collectively represents the United States’ fourth largest export market and fifth largest trading partner.

E3 identifies specific cooperative activities to facilitate U.S.-ASEAN trade and investment, increase efficiency and competitiveness of trade flows and supply chains throughout ASEAN, and build greater awareness of the commercial opportunities that the growing U.S.-ASEAN economic relationship presents. By working together on E3 initiatives, many of which correspond to specific issues typically addressed in trade agreements, the United States and ASEAN are also laying the groundwork for all ASEAN countries to join high-standard trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Four ASEAN states -- Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam are TPP partners.

Cooperation with ASEAN on technical barriers to trade and good regulatory practices will further help to assist both ASEAN and the United States in reaching mutual goals of facilitating trade, broadening market access, promoting regulatory coherence, improving product quality, and consumer choice.

In order to deepen private sector ties, President Obama has directed Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to lead a high-level U.S. business delegation to the region next year, including to 2014 ASEAN-host Myanmar. To increase efforts to promote financial cooperation and economic integration with ASEAN and international financial markets, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew will host a meeting of ASEAN finance ministers meeting in 2014.

Since being launched by leaders in November 2012, E3 made progress in concrete joint activities that expand two-way trade and investment, including:

  • Hosting an ASEAN Economic Ministers Road Show to the United States from June 6-10, 2013 which included engagement with U.S. companies and local government officials in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley on opportunities to expand trade and investment, and on public policies which would support greater trade and investment such as intellectual property protection and an open and fair investment climate; and,
  • Engaging on best practices in standards, rule-making, and conformity assessment in such areas as health supplements, medical devices, and green chemistry, and leveraging APEC expertise and experience in cooperative capacity building to align standards activities between APEC and ASEAN in the areas of ethical business practices for SMEs, energy efficient building standards, food safety standards, and good regulatory practices;
  • Continuing work on trade and the environment, in recognition of the importance of promoting international efforts to achieve shared environmental objectives, as well as the need to pursue trade and environment policies that are mutually supportive; and
  • Expanding skills-based training, human talent development and opportunities for integration into global supply chains for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), through an innovative public-private partnership between USAID and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council through its ASEAN Committee lead by Proctor & Gamble, UPS, GE, HP, and Microsoft.

We continue to work toward:

  • Negotiation of a U.S.-ASEAN trade facilitation agreement, including simplified customs procedures and increased transparency of customs administration;
  • Completion of a joint statement on Shared Principles for International Investment; these principles reaffirm the 11 countries’ commitment to a policy environment that enables and encourages international investment by addressing the essential elements of market access, non-discrimination, investor protections, transparency, and responsible business conduct; and
  • Jointly developing Information and Communications Technology principles to guide policymakers on issues like cross-border information flows, localization requirements, and the role of regulatory bodies.

Joint work under E3 will be further reinforced by USAID’s ASEAN Connectivity for Trade and Investment (ACTI) program, which will improve the trade and investment-enabling environment and enhance private sector integration and competitiveness in ASEAN. The ACTI program focuses on facilitating trade through improving standards and systems, boosting the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises, accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies, and expanding ICT connectivity. E3 will also help ASEAN countries integrate their markets further as ASEAN seeks to build an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment in Numbers

U.S. goods and services trade with ASEAN countries totaled $225 billion in 2011. Exports totaled $95 billion; Imports totaled $129 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with ASEAN countries was $34 billion in 2011.

The United States has $198 billion in total (two ways) goods trade with ASEAN countries during 2012. Goods exports totaled $75 billion; Goods imports totaled $123 billion.

Trade in services with ASEAN countries (exports and imports) totaled $30 billion in 2011 (latest data available). Exports were $19.1 billion; Services imports were $11.1 billion.

U.S. goods exports to the ASEAN countries in 2012 were $75.4 billion, down 1.1% ($822 million) from 2011, but up 80% from 2002. U.S. exports to the ASEAN countries account for 4.9% of overall U.S. exports in 2012.

U.S. goods imports from the ASEAN countries totaled $122.9 billion in 2012, up 3.9% ($4.7 billion) from 2011, and up 57% from 2002. U.S. imports from ASEAN account for 5.4% of overall U.S. imports in 2012.

The ASEAN countries, together, would rank 4th as an export market for the United States, and our 5th largest supplier of imports in 2012.

U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in ASEAN countries (stock) was $189.8 billion in 2012, up 16.2% from 2011, and is led by the nonbank holding companies, manufacturing, and finance/insurance sectors.

PRN: 2013/1241