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Press Statement of the ASEAN on the

                                    14 th US-ASEAN DIALOGUE
                                     MANILA, PHILIPPINES
                                         MAY 23-24,1998

1. The fourteenth US-ASEAN Dialogue meeting convened in Manila on 23-24 May,

2. The meeting was attended by delegations from the ASEAN member countries
and the US. The meeting was co-chaired by
Aurelia E. Brazeal, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia and the
Pacific, and Datuk Abdul Kadir Mohamad, Secretary
General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Rodolfo Severino Jr.,
the Secretary General of ASEAN was also present.
Representatives of the US-ASEAN and ASEAN-US Business Councils attended the

3. The participants exchanged views on economic, global, transnational,
security, and organizational issues. The United States
has been a Dialogue Partner with ASEAN for more than twenty years. During
this time, the periodic Dialogue meeting has
become an important part of ongoing relations between the two sides,
traditionally covering the broad scope of their common
interests with an emphasis on economic and development cooperation issues.
In recent years, private sector participation in the
economic portion of the Dialogue has become a regular feature of the
discussions, providing additional perspective and depth.
ASEAN and the US reaffirmed their commitment to the relationship and the
determination to strengthen the Dialogue

Exchange of Views on Economic Issues 

4. In discussing the financial crisis, participants including the private
sector agreed that international financial institutions, in
particular the IMF, have had and will continue to have a central role in
helping to restore financial and monetary stability in the
region. They agreed on the importance of undertaking reforms of the monetary
and financial systems, both at national and
international levels, including measures to strengthen market confidence by
improving public and private sector transparency.
They also agreed that social expenditure should be protected, wherever
possible, to alleviate the socioeconomic difficulties. In
this connection, they agreed that the World Bank and the Asian Development
Bank have important roles to play. 

5. Together, both sides also examined trade and investment issues, economic
and technical cooperation, WTO and APEC, and
the effects of the financial crisis. In light of the current economic
situation in the region, both sides stressed the importance of
resisting domestic pressures to restrict imports and of maintaining open
markets. They agreed that the on-going economic
cooperation in ASEAN, particularly AFTA, AICO and AIA, as well as ASEAN's
cooperation with the US, would continue to
create favorable conditions for increased foreign direct investment and trade. 

6. ASEAN reiterated that in spite of the prevailing unfavorable financial
and economic conditions in the ASEAN region,
ASEAN is fully committed to meeting WTO obligations and to further promoting
intra ASEAN economic cooperation and
liberalization, including the accelerated implementation of AFTA,
liberalization of trade in services, and in investment in the
ASEAN Investment Area. The US welcomed this ASEAN effort and noted that all
the basic economic fundamentals necessary
to support renewed growth remained strong. The US reiterated its confidence
that the implementation of economic and
structural reforms in conjunction with international assistance and
cooperation would enable all the affected economies in
ASEAN to overcome their difficulties. Both sides agreed to support and
facilitate efforts by those ASEAN countries who are
not yet members of WTO to work toward meeting WTO obligations in order to
join the organization as soon as possible. 

7. Both sides agreed that in this age of global trade and economic
interdependence, it is in the interest of all parties concerned
to support and facilitate an early and strong recovery in ASEAN. In this
connection, the US pledged to continue active
cooperation with ASEAN in order to further enhance ASEAN's capabilities to
recover and regain strength for sustained
growth. ASEAN urged the US to further provide trade financing facilities.
The US agreed to consider favorably technical
assistance to ASEAN in structural adjustments and financial reforms in
individual ASEAN member countries. The US reiterated
its support for ASEAN's efforts to set up a regional economic monitoring
mechanism, as envisaged in the Manila Framework
for Enhanced Asian Regional Cooperation to Promote Financial Stability. The
US also agreed to increase cooperation in
promoting human resources development and small and medium enterprises (SME)
in ASEAN. Both sides recognized and
reaffirmed the importance of the GQP program which enables ASEAN producers
and exporters to compete in the US market. 

8. ASEAN urged the US to remove all the existing discriminatory policies
against certain ASEAN member countries. 

9. ASEAN highlighted the need to enhance development cooperation as one of
the key aspects of the relationship. Both sides
agreed on the need to reinvigorate the partnership to sustain the
relationship into the 21st century. ASEAN encouraged the US
to consider areas for cooperation which would contribute to the realization
of ASEAN Vision 2020. 

10. On assistance to ASEAN students studying in the US, the US highlighted
five different programs to alleviate the hardship
caused by the ongoing financial crisis, including grants, scholarships,
zero-interest loans, and an expansion of visa regulations to
allow certain students to work during the course of their studies. In
welcoming these programs, ASEAN urged the US to allow
all ASEAN students to participate in the Studies and Work Program (SWAP) as
well as encourage American universities
where ASEAN students are studying to charge fees at pre-financial crisis
exchange rates. 

11. On APEC, the two sides noted that a successful package on Early
Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization (EVSL) entailing the
broadest participation and product coverage would enhance APEC's credibility
as a player in the multilateral trading system.
Both sides pledged their full commitment to a successful EVSL initiative.
Further they agreed that APEC in 1998 would include
greater emphasis on economic and technical cooperation goals, on trade and
investment liberalization and facilitation, and on
activities to develop human capital and harness technologies of the future.
ASEAN highlighted the need for APEC to give more
emphasis to the goals of reducing disparities and narrowing the development
gap among members to achieve a prosperous
community of Asia Pacific economies. 

Exchange of Views on Global Issues 

12. On the environmental front, both sides noted that ASEAN countries are
among those most affected by the change in the
weather caused by the El Nino phenomenon. They reviewed international
efforts to combat the 1997 environmental crisis
caused by massive fires burning out of control. Both sides renewed their
commitment to work together and with the larger
international community to enhance the ability of governments to address
disruptions in the supply of food and fresh water,
crucial environment- related disease threats, wildfires, deforestation,
threats to endangered species and loss of biodiversity. The
US highlighted details of its Southeast Asian Environment Initiative (SAEI)
and noted as well plans to work with the region on
firefighting. ASEAN welcomed the SAEI and underlined the urgent need for
assistance and support to meet immediate needs
for strengthening the fire fighting capabilities in the areas currently
affected by the fire, apart from long term monitoring and
modeling activities. 

13. On global climate change, the US stressed that, although developed
countries have a greater responsibility, global warming
will affect all countries and require a worldwide effort to combat it.
Although that effort will vary based on national
circumstances, it should include efforts by developing countries to reduce
the growth of their greenhouse emissions consistent
with economic growth. The US also highlighted the potential economic
benefits of the Clean Development Mechanism, which
can facilitate technology transfer and investment to developing countries
and urged ASEAN countries to support the Clean
Development Mechanism at upcoming international conferences. In turn, ASEAN
called for the rapid entry into force of the
Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework on climate change (UNFCC)
which sets emission reduction targets for
industrialized countries. ASEAN also called for the fulfillment of all
commitments under the UNFCC based on the principle of
common but differentiated responsibilities, in particular those related to
the provisions of new and additional financial resources
and the transfer of technology. Further, ASEAN reiterated its position that
no new commitments should be introduced for all
developing countries. ASEAN underlined that developed countries should
continue to meet their commitments on emission
targets principally through domestic action and not through other means such
as the Clean Development Mechanism. 

14. On narcotics cooperation, the US welcomed ASEAN commitment to create a
drug-free region and agreed to contribute
towards the realization of this vision. The US expressed its interest in
working together with ASEAN as an organization to
explore ASEAN-wide activities to combat narcotics production, trafficking
and abuse. In this regard, the US welcomed the
ASEAN-sponsored Joint Declaration recently adopted during 14-15 May in Hanoi
by the six signatory countries of the 1993
MOU on Drug Control and the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) to
be circulated at the UNGA Special
Session on Drugs scheduled for June, 1998, in New York. The US recognized
that the Joint Declaration reflects the concerted
efforts and commitments of the concerned countries to tackle the drug
problem in the region. 

15. The US also highlighted its work with Thailand to open an International
Law Enforcement Training Academy in Bangkok,
as well as its work with the UNDCP on Narcotics related projects in several
ASEAN countries. ASEAN highlighted the need
to draw on US expertise in counter narcotics activities, and noted that
while all ASEAN members are striving to reduce both
demand and supply of illegal substances, increasing world demands for these
products complicate this matter greatly. ASEAN
also welcomed US partnership with Thailand on law enforcement training as
complementary to existing regional efforts against
transnational crimes, particularly the establishment of an ASEAN Centre on
Transnational Crimes (ACOT). 

Exchange of Views on Regional Security Issues 

16. The two sides exchanged views on regional security issues of mutual
concern. The two sides discussed current
developments in Cambodia, stressing the need for free, fair and credible
elections as a prerequisite for progress and peace
there. Participants welcomed developments in the Four Party Talks in Geneva
on the Korean Peninsula and hoped that the
process would continue. Both sides expressed hope that the talks and the
initiatives in KEDO would lead to peace on the
Peninsula. The United States reiterated its call for continued support of
KEDO by all in the region. 

17. The two sides discussed nonproliferation issues and the ongoing
consultations between the State Parties to the SEANWFZ
Treaty and the Nuclear Weapons States to facilitate the latter's accession
to the Protocol to the Treaty. The U.S. also provided
an update on the situation in Kosovo, and in the Middle East. ASEAN
appreciated the initiatives undertaken by the Contact
Group countries on Kosovo and emphasized the importance of an early and
durable solution to the Kosovo problem. ASEAN
would like to see continued and determined efforts to save the peace process
in the Middle East, which is in the interest of all.
Both sides strongly believed that security for all could only be assured by
establishing a just, lasting and comprehensive peace,
on the basis of relevant UNSC Resolutions, including the principle of the
exchange of land for peace. 

Exchange of Views on Organizational Issues 

18. The two sides had useful discussions on the structure and scope of the
Post Ministerial Conferences. They welcomed
continued discussions with a view to improving the Post Ministerial
Conferences in accordance with ASEAN's ideals and

19. On the ASEAN-US Dialogue mechanism, they reviewed the evolution of the
relationship and agreed to strengthen the
mechanism, taking into account changing needs and expectations.