EWC and US-ASEAN Business Council Launch 'ASEAN Matters for America" Online Tool and Publication


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 10, 2014) – At an event on Capitol Hill yesterday, the US-ASEAN Business Council and the East West Center launched a new “ASEAN Matters for America” publication and online tool that outlines the essential role ASEAN plays in American economic prosperity. Senate East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Ben Cardin and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce spoke at the launch event, which also included a discussion panel with leaders from the Southeast Asia business, media, analysis and diplomatic communities.

By far the largest destination in Asia for U.S. investment and the 4th largest export market for American products, ASEAN holds a key strategic role at the crossroads of global trade, as it sits between China and India and is surrounded by some of the world’s most vital sea lanes.

The project, which can be accessed at www.aseanmattersforamerica.org, for the first time collects in one place key statistics, news, infographics and analysis about the role ASEAN plays in America’s economy, and provides data down to the state and congressional district levels on trade and jobs connected to Southeast Asia.

ASEAN comprises 10 countries with a collective $2.4 trillion GDP. In 2015, the ASEAN nations will come together in the ASEAN Economic Community, which will provide for mobility of goods, services, and skilled professionals, and will form a single economic region of 626 million consumers. Taken together, ASEAN is the world’s 7th largest economy.

“For 30 years, the Council has been one of the strongest advocates for American engagement with ASEAN, however, even we were surprised by how large of an economic stake U.S. business has in Southeast Asia when compared to countries that are often mentioned more in the media,” said Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council.  “ASEAN is the number one destination for U.S. investment anywhere in Asia, but what we did not realize is that the $190 billion American business has invested in ASEAN is more than the U.S. has invested in China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and New Zealand combined.”

“The Asia Matters for America series draws attention to the essential role that Asia plays in

U.S. growth and prosperity,” said East-West Center  in Washington Director Satu Limaye. “By providing data that shows how many jobs are created by trade with ASEAN and how many dollars are spent by ASEAN tourists and students in every district in the U.S., we can help local leaders understand the importance of ASEAN to their bottom lines. Twenty-one states send at least $1 billion in goods exports to ASEAN each year, and 57% of congressional districts exported at least $100 million in goods to ASEAN during 2012.”

The nearly $100 billion of U.S. goods and services that go to ASEAN each year support more than 560,000 U.S. jobs. Over 3 million Americans visit ASEAN countries annually, and visitors from ASEAN countries spend over $4 billion in the U.S. each year. ASEAN investment in the U.S. has grown by more than 1400% since 2001.

The ASEAN Matters for America Project is a joint effort of the US-ASEAN Business Council, ISEAS, and the East-West Center, and was made possible by the support of Ace Group, AIG, Chevron, Citi, UPS, Caterpillar, the Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil, HP, Syngenta, and Time Warner.