Women entrepreneurs showcase the GREAT Women in ASEAN products at the ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.
Women entrepreneurs showcase the GREAT Women in ASEAN products at the ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.
Wanarat Jaroonsoponsawat/USAID

Through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID), we address the root causes of poverty and instability and help lay the foundation for prosperity and security.

Southeast Asia is a diverse region, encompassing countries with a wide range of wealth disparities. The development challenges in the region are numerous, complex and varied. Many of these challenges are best dealt with by nation states. However, some issues, including increasing regional and international trade and reducing transboundary threats – such as trafficking in persons, global climate change and illegal trade of wildlife – require concerted cross-border and international efforts. The rapid growth of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as its embrace of economic globalization, have resulted in renewed emphasis by the United States on promoting global prosperity through trade, economic openness and sound governance practices across Asia.


USAID is supporting closer integration, peace and growing prosperity in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region, working closely with ASEAN, the ASEAN Secretariat and the 10 ASEAN member states. USAID provides technical assistance to ASEAN’s Sectoral Working Groups and the ASEAN Secretariat to promote regional cooperation in areas such as human rights, transnational crime, disaster preparedness and management, and trade facilitation. In addition, USAID partners with individual ASEAN member states to assist them to implement ASEAN commitments in these areas.

Our cooperation with ASEAN includes:

  • Combating Trafficking in Persons: The ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, is critical to cracking down on human trafficking rings, while maintaining a rights-based, trafficking survivor approach. USAID is working with ASEAN transnational crime and human rights officials to establish regional guidelines for protection and services for trafficked persons. USAID is also working to private sector partners to address human trafficking in targeted supply chains.
  • Promoting Science, Technology and Innovation: USAID helps ASEAN further institutionalize science-based, data-driven decision-making, and raise awareness about the role of data and research in policy-making through the media, the private sector and civil society. We are also promoting innovation among ASEAN youth through a challenge program under President Obama’s Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative.
  • Workforce Development: The USAID Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training (USAID COMET) program prepares young adults from the Lower Mekong region to work throughout ASEAN and abroad.
  • Cultivating Emerging Leaders: USAID supports the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program that encourages young leaders ages 18 to 30 from all ASEAN countries to serve as volunteers in their communities while enhancing cross-cultural understanding and ASEAN identity among youth.
  • Advancing Economic Integration: USAID helps advance the ASEAN Single Window for customs clearance, a hallmark of ASEAN’s progress in economic integration that will speed clearance procedures, lower costs for businesses and increase trade.Partn
  • Connecting ASEAN and U.S. Businesses: The U.S. ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) combines the expertise and resources of USAID and major U.S. corporations to provide training programs and mentorship opportunities that increase small businesses’ access to finance, to regional and international markets, and to technology and innovation. Since 2014, the Business Alliance has reached more than 4,000 ASEAN business owners and employees.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Management: USAID supported installing a state-of-the-art all-hazard disaster monitoring and response system at the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance. We are also assisting to implement ASEAN’s “One ASEAN, One Response” initiative to mobilize assets and capacities available from within ASEAN to address disasters when they happen.

The USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia's support to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has focused on:

  • Strengthening Institutions: including a broad range of support to the APEC Secretariat intended to strengthen IT systems, improve personnel and financial management systems and generally build staff capabilities so that the Secretariat becomes a stronger, more strategically managed institution.
  • Trade Facilitation and Regulatory Reform: strengthening APEC’s ability to promote and support further liberalization of trade, improve the business environment to reduce costs of business transactions, improve access to trade information and align policy and business strategies to facilitate growth and free trade.
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment: developing a Women and the Economy Dashboard, a tool to gather and analyze data from across APEC member economies to understand better the status of women's economic empowerment in the region.
  • Energy Policy: Conserving government funds and reducing pollution through targeted reforms of fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Disaster Preparedness:  Strengthening member economies’ ability to respond to natural disasters through improvement to supply chain resilience, trade in humanitarian goods and guidelines for appropriate donations.

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ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment

ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security

ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program

U.S.-APEC Technical Assistance to Advance Regional Integration