PBBM cites ‘economic might’ of US in ASEAN


President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said the United States has become an “economic might” in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as it continues to pour more investments into the regional bloc. 

Last year, he said the US remained the biggest source of Foreign Direct Investment in the ASEAN with a market share of 22.5 percent.

“We look forward to more investment inflows as well as a higher turnover of goods and services through the implementation of the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Work,” Marcos said during the 11th ASEAN-US Summit in Indonesia.

The partnerships, he said, will translate to enhancing connectivity and supply chains between the two parties. 

He also lauded how the US continues to support international order based on the rule of law in the South China Sea, which it reiterated in the Joint Camp David Statement with Japan and South Korea.

“The statement opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific and the militarization of reclaimed features in the South China Sea, as well as expresses concern for the continued illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing that affects our fisherfolk,” Marcos sad. 

The President also welcomed the US initiatives by empowering women and the youth through its education programs fellowships like the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI); the Billion Futures Scholars framework; the Fulbright US-ASEAN Visiting Scholar; the ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women; and the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program,

In her statement in the Summit, US Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated their commitment to ASEAN in the fields of security and trade.

Marcos said he is looking forward to more engagements between ASEAN and the US.  

“The US has always been an ally and an indispensable partner of ASEAN,” Marcos said.

Image credits: Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via AP