The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will boost cooperation with the US and Germany, affirmed ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh at meetings with representatives from the two countries in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 5.

Minh held talks with President of the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) Alexander Feldman at the ASEAN Secretariat’s headquarters, and confirmed the importance of the private sector in building an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

Feldman presented US-ABC’s plans, including a programme to improve the capacity of member nations’ small- and medium-sized enterprises and connect them to regional and global supply chains.

The programme was implemented effectively in Jakarta and Manila (the Philippines) in 2012, and will be introduced in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) in 2013, and across ASEAN in 2015.

Feldman said US-ABC will continue initiatives to boost economic cooperation and enhance the image of ASEAN to highlight the association’s central role in global markets.

On the same day, German Ambassador to Indonesia Georg Witschel presented his credentials to the ASEAN Secretary General.

At their meeting, Minh said he appreciated Germany’s effective assistance to ASEAN in narrowing the development gap among the member countries and its commitment to strengthening bilateral relations and integration in economics, politics-security and culture-society.

For his part, Witschel affirmed the German Government’s pledge to help ASEAN reach its goals and its cooperation in common projects and activities.-VNA