Asean-US Summit focuses on deepening economic cooperation
Siti Hajar

THE Asean-US relationship is anticipated to reach greater heights as the two entities continue to work in various aspects of international cooperation with a number of projects already in the pipelines that are slated to enhance the two-way partnership on several different levels of development.

During the first-ever Asean-US Summit that was co-chaired by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam who also wished the US “all the best” for the current setback that their government is facing, the monarch in his titah that was delivered at the beginning of the meeting had emphasised that the bloc is resolute in strengthening their alliance with the US.

“We are committed to redoubling efforts and increasing trade and investment agreed at our meeting last year in Phnom Penh and this was accompanied by the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) of which some aspects have been advancing quite well,” said His Majesty, referring to the framework for economic cooperation designed to expand Asean-US trade and investment ties aimed at creating new business opportunities and employment in the 11 countries.

Together with close cooperation in supporting Small and Medium Enterprises and finalising the Joint Investment and ICT non-binding principles, His Majesty said, “These initiatives have certainly opened up new opportunities to enhance economic engagement” that will aid in supporting job creation and strengthening industries as a mean “to achieve our common goals for strong sustainable and balanced economic growth”.

Added as well, meanwhile, are efforts in the energy sector that Brunei is working on with the US and Indonesia that was described by His Majesty as a “meaningful cooperation” that is expected to have “far-reaching benefits for our people in the region” as is currently seen in the Asean-US work under the English Language Enrichment Project.

“I hope we can pursue many more opportunities such as this in ensuring that all that we do will benefit our people,” said the monarch, while expressing confidence that “the US engagement with Asean will continue to grow”.

Aside from the economic progress, His Majesty also touched on the US political security cooperation with the region and commended the US for their efforts in seeking peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis that emphasises on the framework agreement and the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution.

“This is why we appreciate a strong US presence in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region.” - Borneo Bulletin (10 October 2013)