FACT SHEET: 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Summit

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 13, 2014

Today, President Obama met with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders and foreign ministers and the ASEAN Secretariat’s Secretary-General at the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. President Obama reaffirmed the importance of U.S.-ASEAN ties as a crucial element of the United States’ strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region and highlighted many of the cooperative activities the United States has undertaken with ASEAN across its economic, political-security, and socio-cultural pillars.

Economic Engagement

U.S.-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement (E3): To expand trade and investment ties between the United States and ASEAN and to create new jobs and business opportunities, President Obama in 2012 announced the creation of an Enhanced Economic Engagement Initiative (E3).  Under the E3, the United States is working with ASEAN to promote trade facilitation, standards development and practices, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and establishing open and transparent investment and information technology environments. In August 2014, U.S. businesses participated in the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Business Summit, which focused on improving the capacity of SMEs to connect to regional and global supply chains.

Commercial Engagement: The U.S. Departments Commerce and State will sponsor four business and trade delegations to ASEAN next year focused on a range of sectors, including health and energy.  The first delegation will take place in February 2015, going to the Philippines and Indonesia, and focusing on the health sector.  These delegations will visit several ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, and will be led by senior officials.

Lower Mekong Initiative Business Delegation: The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and USAID, in cooperation with U.S. businesses, will lead a business delegation to the Lower Mekong region in 2015 to highlight regional energy security and sustainability.  The delegation will complement the Extraordinary Meeting of the Friends of the Lower Mekong scheduled for January 2015, in which eight of the largest donor states and organizations will meet to discuss regional development strategies.

ASEAN Reverse Trade Mission and Symposium: In collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and Energy, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency plans to lead a high-level ASEAN Ministers Energy and Transport Infrastructure Symposium and Reverse Trade Mission in 2015. The event will enhance U.S. economic engagement in Southeast Asia, increase U.S. economic opportunities and jobs, and advance ASEAN’s infrastructure priorities targeted by the U.S.-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership (USACEP) and the U.S.-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Initiative by connecting policy makers with U.S. suppliers.

Advancing Entrepreneurship and Business Growth: The U.S.-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, a public private partnership between USAID and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, held training programs in five ASEAN countries and will soon begin creating an online academy to support SMEs in three key areas: access to finance; access to regional and international markets; and access to information and information technology.

ASEAN Integration and ASEAN Single Window (ASW): The United States is supporting the creation of an ASEAN Single Window through the ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI) program. The ASW is a hallmark of ASEAN’s progress toward building the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 that is designed to speed customs clearance procedures and lower costs for businesses, allowing increased trade.

Environmentally Sustainable Energy Development: The U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of State and USAID continue to support the U.S.-Asia Comprehensive Energy Partnership, and in 2014 held a workshop on rural electrification with the ASEAN Center for Energy, cosponsored with Brunei a Renewable and Alternative Energy Financing Workshop to highlight financing and technical assistance resources available for renewable energy project, and co-sponsored with Vietnam a regional Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program workshop.

Collaborative ASEAN and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Activities: The United States is working to include non-APEC ASEAN members (Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos) in APEC capacity building activities in areas of mutual interest to both organizations so all ASEAN economies fully benefit from this work as ASEAN advances toward the AEC.

Political-Security Engagement

Enhancing Maritime Cooperation: As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen U.S.ASEAN defense cooperation in areas including maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, Secretary of Defense Hagel hosted the ten ASEAN Defense Ministers at an informal meeting In Hawaii in April 2014.  In September 2014, the United States and the Philippines hosted the 2nd Expanded ASEAN Seafarer Training Counter Piracy workshop to exchange best practices on counter-piracy training, welfare, and safety issues in support of ASEAN seafarers.

Combating Piracy:  Also in September, the United States became the 20th contracting party to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), an international organization that serves as a platform for information exchange and for promoting and enhancing cooperation to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

Building ASEAN’s Cyber Confidence: The United States is helping to build ASEAN’s capacity to increase cybersecurity cooperation and reduce the risk of conflict during a cyber incident by supporting an ASEAN cybercrime workshop hosted by Singapore in 2014, jointly chairing with Singapore the ASEAN Regional Forum Seminar on Operationalizing Cyber Confidence Building Measures scheduled for 2015.

Combating Human and Wildlife Trafficking: The United States is working with ASEAN partners to combat human and wildlife trafficking.  In October 2014, the United States co-chaired with Burma a seminar on combating trafficking in persons, and is providing training for Heads of Anti-trafficking Specialist Units (HSUs) in crime scene management and victim-centric approaches in investigations. On wildlife trafficking, the United States worked with Myanmar to draft the East Asia Summit Declaration on wildlife Trafficking.

ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program: The United States and the National University of Malaysia entered into a multiyear agreement for USAID to provide support for the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program (AVYP) to support ASEAN’s efforts to sponsor young volunteers to work throughout ASEAN on solutions to development challenges facing their communities.

Climate Change Cooperation: The United States and ASEAN announced the U.S.-ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change, demonstrating their commitment to a successful United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

Promoting Women and Children’s Rights: In April 2014, the United States and ASEAN launched the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network in Vietnam. The project brings together the resources of USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the ASEAN Committee on Women, and the private sector to provide mentorship, training, and networking resources to women entrepreneurs.

U.S.-ASEAN Science and Technology (S&T) Fellow Program: The United States and the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) launched the S&T Fellow Program in April 2014. Seven fellows worked on issues related to biodiversity, climate change, water management, health, and disaster risk reduction. The United States and ASEAN plan to expand the program in 2015.

Global solutions to save the world’s oceans

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Maria Damanaki

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Global solutions to save the world’s oceans

“Re-energising the Oceans” conference

Brussels, 30 June 2014

Dear co-chairs of the GOC, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to “Re-Energising the Oceans”.

Some of us have seen quite a lot of each other lately, in what we affectionately call now “the June of the oceans”: a month that has been dense with high-level appointments on ocean governance.

And it’s not just June: in the past few months discussions have gained pace, declarations have multiplied. Importantly, the media are starting to pick up the story of the oceans, and this is very positive. People should be aware of the issues at stake.

When the Global Ocean Commission was created, with the goal of finding workable solutions and feasible ideas on those issues, I was hopeful and relieved. Here in Europe, I was already trying to make a difference on ocean governance and painfully aware of the magnitude of problems.

Now, a year later, their Report comes with perfect timing. It will help to take the momentum further and energise the discussions that we have only just started.

When the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea was signed thirty-two years ago, it was a turning point in ocean governance.

And as Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, I am proud to say that the Convention has guided the EU ever since.

But three decades later, just like the internet calls for rules against cybercrime, new bio-technologies or underwater systems call on us to regulate new activities especially in deep sea waters, in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The current system is fragmented and uncoordinated. So far we have tried to palliate with ad-hoc arrangements between different bodies and countries, but in essence the system is ineffective. For instance it prevents us from having cumulative impact assessments or from having the marine protected areas recognized globally.

The kind of coordination we need can only be obtained through a systematic process; and this is why the European Union is so committed to an update of the rules through UNCLOS.

Clearly only a mix of elements would work, as the UN Working Group already agreed to in 2011: marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, capacity building and rules on the transfer of marine technology, genetic resources and benefit sharing.

So let us agree to make progress; let us do away with any outstanding issues. The EU will work with all countries to ensure that we have a satisfactory result by August 2015.

Within the EU we have introduced transformational change with regard to fisheries. Since 1/1/2014 we have a new common fisheries policy, sustainable and science based, phasing out discarding and implementing the same principles for European vessels worldwide. Through this new policy we have banned all types of subsidies at European level, that lead to overcapacity and overfishing. Our European fund has no granting for fuel subsidies at all.

Allow me now to come to a global problem also mentioned in GOC report: illegal fisheries

Illegal fishing has to be eradicated from the high seas, and this is why the EU uses its diplomatic weight to push for rules like the UNCLOS or the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement to be enforced worldwide.

We also use our considerable market weight and I’m grateful to the Global Oceans Commission for highlighting this important aspect in its paper. In practice the EU requires that any fish import be accompanied by a catch certificate. In other words the fish has to be caught legally; otherwise it won’t get into our market. And we go further.

We work with other world nations to promote compliance with international law. When a country clearly does not respect its international obligations, we give them a fair warning and time to set things straight. We have done so with 13 countries in the last two years. Ten of them then complied, but three didn’t. So earlier this year the EU adopted our first ever trade ban with Cambodia, Belize and Guinea Conakry.

In just over four years the EU has become the frontrunner in the fight against IUU and we are making a difference. Many third countries are now taking their international duties much seriously.

The EU is also stepping up its efforts to address the marine litter problem. It has agreed to set a reduction target for marine litter by 2020, to move towards Rio + 20 commitments. We In European Commission are going to propose this target soon.

On offshore oil and gas the EU has put in place the highest risk based standards for operation within its territory. We well come of course binding efforts for reducing risk, as well as ensuring effective emerging response, regardless of where operations take place, in line with the polluter pays principle.

The other soft spot identified by the Global Oceans Commission is the performance of RFMOs. We cannot ignore their presence. I think the focus at least for right now should be on improving what we have.

How? – you may ask.

We start from the basics – at least that is what the EU has done. Our new reformed policy now tells us what to do: we are to improve the compliance committees of RFMOs, develop scientific knowledge and advice, manage stocks on a sustainable basis, apply effective and deterring penalties, carry out performance reviews and fix what needs to be fixed.

All this renews the thrust for our work in RFMOs, so I very much welcome the urgency you bring into this discussion. The GOC has made a recommendation for turning the high seas into a regeneration zone in case of no results. The vision is clear and high ambitious. The European Union clearly supports the establishment of marine Protected areas. Referring to the closing of all high seas fisheries we have a number of questions and concerns on the consequences for the fisheries in other areas and the complicated governance issues of such decisions. This issue needs further examination and discussion to be based on science, impartial decision making procedures and control mechanisms.

Ladies and gentlemen,

What is needed at international level is a change of perspective. We need to see the bigger picture. A holistic and comprehensive approach is the basic requirement for a healthy and resilient marine environment. As I said: no fences. Integration is the name of the game. It is gaining ground in all our Member States and beyond, as is our blue growth agenda. So far we have given special attention to promising maritime sectors such as marine biotech, aquaculture, ocean energy, deep sea mining and tourism. We think that with a focused research effort and steps to improve the environment for innovation, these sectors can prosper in a smart and sustainable way.

A key tool to ensure sufficient marine space for concurrent economic activities is maritime spatial planning. If all goes well our legislative proposal should enter into force after the summer and it is a historic achievement. For the first time in the world, countries have a legal obligation to cooperate in planning their seas across borders.

Spatial planning gives operators certainty on whether and what economic developments are possible, where and for how long. It will speed up licensing and permit procedures, and will provide good management of the cumulative impact of maritime activities. It a huge and real step for marine governance in Europe.

At the same time there is also an overall need to get a deeper and better understanding of how our oceans work, how they interact with the climate and how economic activities affect the marine environment.

Ocean observation, mapping and forecasting are essential in this vein. This is why the EU has directly and explicitly geared its financial support, and particularly its research funds, towards the sea.

Since last year, the EU, the United States and Canada have started a transatlantic research alliance which is to cover observing systems and ocean stressors, as well as research in the Arctic region, a fragile environment that is undergoing enormous change in terms of temperature and human activity.

We hope to see similar forms of cooperation with and between other countries in the future.

Needless to say, the private sector will have a big role to play in this sustainable growth model. Any firm operating in transport, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture or coastal tourism is entirely dependent on ocean resources, services and space. They will have to take up a corresponding responsibility for marine environmental protection, in Europe and in the world.

To conclude, ladies and gentlemen,

The EU perspective to the ocean challenge is one of caution and common sense. We don’t want to open up the seas to unbridled growth or a lawless gold rush. But we think that controlled, smart and fair development is possible.

We need cooperation with international community, to create one common front. And we need it now.

Now, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has been kind enough to send us a video, let us listen to his views.

Thank you.