WASHINGTON -- U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab
will visit Singapore on November 18-19 to meet
with Economic Ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
and discuss progress made under the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework
Agreement (TIFA). She then will visit Cambodia on
November 20-21, marking the first visit by a U.S. Trade Representative to the
“ASEAN countries together are our fifth largest trading
partner, and Southeast Asia is one of the most
rapidly growing, economically vibrant regions in the world,” Ambassador Schwab
said. “I look forward to the first formal meeting with my ASEAN colleagues
since we signed our TIFA a year ago. We can take pride in the solid
progress achieved so far and set our agenda for the coming year.”
During her meetings, Ambassador Schwab also will discuss
with ASEAN ministers as well as her counterparts from Japan and Korea how best
to advance the WTO Doha negotiations. The United States is
committed to achieving a successful outcome to these negotiations, which will
create significant new economic opportunities and growth worldwide.
In addition, Ambassador Schwab will use the meetings to
underscore U.S. concerns
about the situation in Burma and its failure to make a
serious commitment to a meaningful and time-bound dialogue toward national
reconciliation and a peaceful transition to civilian democratic rule. Ambassador
Schwab will urge key players in the Southeast Asian region to step up pressure
on the Burmese regime to come to the table.
Following her meetings in Singapore, Ambassador Schwab will visit
Cambodia to hold talks under the
U.S.-Cambodia TIFA and explore ways to build on the recent growth in trade and
investment relations between the two countries. She also will discuss
Cambodia’s implementation of its
commitments under the U.S.-Cambodia Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) and its WTO
accession agreement, as well as other trade-related issues.
ASEAN Members include Brunei Darussalam,
Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Trade between the United
States and ASEAN has grown significantly during the past
decade, and ASEAN was the fourth largest export market for the
United States in 2006, with
U.S. exports totaling $57
billion. In addition, U.S. foreign direct investment in
ASEAN countries reached $83.4 billion in 2005 (the latest available data), up 6
percent from the previous year.
In 2002, President Bush announced the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI), which sought to
strengthen further U.S. trade and investment ties to
ASEAN, both regionally and bilaterally. The EAI offers the prospect of
free trade agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN members that are WTO members and have a
bilateral TIFA with the United States. The
States has used these TIFAs to address
bilateral issues and to coordinate on regional and multilateral
States concluded an FTA with Singapore in 2003 and currently is negotiating an
FTA with Malaysia. The FTA negotiations
with Thailand are on hold until a
democratically-elected government is in place. The United States has active dialogues under our
TIFAs with Brunei,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
This will be the second TIFA meeting with
Cambodia, which is witnessing rapid
economic growth that is expected to reach more than 9 percent this year.
Two-way trade totaled $2.3 billion in 2006, an increase of 23 percent relative
to 2005. The United
States has been working to support Cambodia’s
implementation of its BTA and WTO commitments, as well as its efforts to improve
its investment climate.
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