Last Friday, Amcham Singapore members (including yours truly, who serves as Amcham Singapore treasurer) met the first resident U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN, David Carden. His appointment was a long time coming and the Obama administration should be credited for taking this important step. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), who had been advocating the creation of this position for years, deserves the most credit for being farsighted. The United States and Japan are currently the only countries with resident ASEAN ambassadors devoted to the regional grouping.
Ambassador Carden appears affable and ready to work. Most importantly, he is an experienced litigation lawyer from New York. ASEAN is not without disputes, even though the ASEAN dispute settlement institutions are underused, and his friendly advice should help ASEAN develop the rules-based system that the AEC needs.