The ASEAN-US dialogue relationship began in 1977. During the early stages of the dialogue, priority was given to commodities, market and capital access, operation of transnational corporations, the transfer of technology, the development of energy resources, shipping and food security. US assistance was extended in areas such as regional plant/crop protection centers; forestry resources and conservation; agricultural development planning and non-conventional energy research.
The last ASEAN-US Dialogue (16th) was held in Washington, DC on 29 November 2001. Since 2001, the relationship between ASEAN and the US has grown to include a new initiative called the ASEAN Cooperation Plan (ACP) on 1 August 2002 in Bandar Seri Begawan. As envisioned, cooperation activities will be undertaken in the following areas: information technology, agricultural biotechnology, health, disaster response, and training for the ASEAN Secretariat. In addition, the ASEAN Economic Ministers and US Trade Representative met for an informal consultation on 20 November 2002 in Manila. The First ASEAN-US Informal Coordinating Mechanism Meeting was held on 28 March 2003 in Vientiane, Laos. The Meeting took stock of ASEAN-US development cooperation activities and planned future activities based on ACP.
The 17th ASEAN-US Dialogue will take place in Bangkok on 29-30 January 04. It is the forum at which the ASEAN countries and the US will review the many facets of their relationship, priority areas of cooperation, and common areas of interest. Walter Lohman, the Executive Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council, will be leading a senior level business delegation to present the business views to the governments in Bangkok. The Dialogue is particularly important this year as the region returns to strong economic growth, and American companies need the US to be a proactive partner in ASEAN.
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