|US President Barack Obama has announced a package of measures designed to boost Southeast Asian economies. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
HA NOI (VNS) — US President Barack Obama on February 16 announced a package of measures designed to boost Southeast Asian economies, betting that the fast-growing region can be an ever more important trade partner.
A White House official said on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Summit in California that the plan will establish three economic offices in Indonesia's Jakarta, Thailand's Bangkok and Singapore to better co-ordinate the US's economic engagement.
The new "US-ASEAN Connect" package will include technical advice on how countries like Indonesia and the Philippines can prepare to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Other measures will focus on improving trade ties in the communications and infrastructure sectors, among others, and streamlining current government programmes. It will also address the power sector.
The ASEAN groups together Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Collectively, the ASEAN countries are the fourth-largest trading partner for the US.
According to White House figures, two-way trade in goods and services has tripled since the 1990s, topping US$254 billion in 2014, supporting around half a million US jobs. — VNA/VNS