Obama, ASEAN leaders adopt platform

Nov. 19, 2012 at 4:14 PM
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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- President Obama and Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders said an agreement designed to expand trade and investment ties in all countries was adopted.

The U.S.-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement initiative, approved during the organization's summit in Phnom Phen, Cambodia, is a framework for economic cooperation that will help create new business opportunities and jobs in the United States and the 10 ASEAN countries, the White House said Monday in a release.

The agreement identifies specific cooperative activities to enhance and make more efficient U.S.-ASEAN trade and investment, as well as build awareness of the commercial opportunities a growing U.S.-ASEAN economic relationship could bring, the White House said.

Leaders also discussed the importance of building up the influence of the East Asia Summit so that it can have a greater voice in regional political and strategic issues, the White House said.

Leaders discussed how vital it was to put mechanisms and processes in place to manage disputes over competing claims in the South China Sea peacefully, endorsed a foreign ministers' statement on the South China Sea issue and called for early conclusion of a regional code of conduct.

The United States committed to bettering its collaboration with ASEAN member to addressing human trafficking to include support for efforts to aligning legal frameworks for defining and prohibiting human trafficking, increase cross-border joint investigations and build capacity for a standardized response to the needs of victims, the White House said.

Obama and the other leaders also discussed deepen diplomatic, economic, security and people-to-people ties, White House officials said.

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