US to boost economic engagement with Asean

Washington, Feb 17 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has unveiled a new initiative to promote economic ties with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The initiative, called US-Asean Connect, is designed to set up a network of hubs across the region to connect more entrepreneurs, investors and businesses between the two sides, Xinhua quoted Obama as saying on Tuesday.

“We agreed to do more together to encourage the entrepreneurship and innovation that are at the heart of modern competitive economies,” Obama said.

Obama discussed the initiative with Asean leaders on Monday during a session on economic cooperation between the two sides.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the US and Asean countries stressed the importance of pursuing policies that foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

The gathering of the US and Asean leaders, the first of its kind on US soil, is part of Obama’s efforts to deepen what he called a “strong and enduring partnership”.

The two sides forged a strategic partnership in Kuala Lumpur in November last year.

Asean consists of 10 Southeastern Asian countries. As the region’s economy grew, its interaction with world powers has also been increasing.

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