New President Elect Will See ASEAN Partnership Rejuvenated

09 Nov 2020
New President Elect Will See ASEAN Partnership Rejuvenated
The Biden Administration will pave the way for a stronger alliance between the United States and Australia, as well as the wider Indo-Pacific region which includes ASEAN, according to Chief Executive Officer of Perth USAsia Centre, Professor Gordon Flake.

“There is no doubt that Trump’s ‘America first’ policy has had impacts on the United States global partners, and this has included Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.”

“Relations between the United States and the Indo-Pacific region has been sporadic and at times incoherent, especially with the effects of COVID encouraging a protectionist policy for most countries around the world, however Trump’s approach to foreign policy was restrictive before COVID was discovered,” Professor Flake said.

Biden is a long-serving member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, and is expected to reinvigorate Obama’s Indo-Pacific focussed “rebalance” policy, with Biden’s senior advisor reporting that the President-elect will engage with ASEAN on critical issues.

“Representing over 647 million of the world’s population, ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, incorporates Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, Biden would be wise to reconnect with this region, which has the potential to increase their trade and investment with the United States, and could make up shortfalls left from a disintegrated US-China relationship,” Professor Flake said.

Australia also continues to recognise the potential of the ASEAN region for the nation’s prosperity, with a dialogue partnership dating back to the 70’s, and currently accounts for 15% of Australia’s total trade.
“Tapping into the potential of the ASEAN region is definitely one of many ways Australia and the United States can reignite the Alliance after the challenging times of the Trump administration and COVID-19,” Professor Flake said.

The Perth USAsia Centre will convene the WA-ASEAN Trade and Investment Dialogue in partnership with Western Australia’s Department Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, featuring experts and influencers from throughout the region, sharing insights on how the state, and the wider nation can service the ASEAN community, from infrastructure gaps to critical materials.

“As our state and nation begins to re-emerge from COVID, our first priority must be economic recovery, and ASEAN represents a valid alternative to China in industries where trade sanctions have been applied, such as agriculture.  Countries such as Indonesia has already looked to Australia for food security as part of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement,” Professor Flake said.
The virtual ASEAN Trade and Investment Dialogue will be held during the second week of November (16-20), and is free of charge.  Register here.

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Tammy Wayne-Elliot
Tammy Wayne-Elliot
Senior Media and PR Advisor
Tammy Wayne-Elliot is the Senior PR and Media Advisor for the Perth USAsia Centre. She is responsible for public relations, media liaison and marketing and oversees the Centre's external profile.
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