Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia

Pacific Forum


Virtual Forum Series

Adapting to COVID-19: Indonesia, the United States, and the Indo-Pacific

"COVID-19's Impact on Regional Trade and Security"

Previously on a clear path to middle-income status, export- and tourism-reliant ASEAN nations sustained a severe blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, with economies contracting anywhere from 4 to 7% in 2020. Even with vaccine distribution beginning, 2021 has started with border closures and social restrictions, and some experts expect the long-term effects of pandemic to be deeper and longer-lasting than that of the Asian Financial Crisis. The economic setbacks of and divergence in governmental responses to the pandemic have raised the stakes for intra-regional cooperation, as has the US and China’s competition for influence in Southeast Asia.

In this climate, the subject of inter-ASEAN integration on trade and security will only grow in importance. As ASEAN’s most populous country, Indonesia has a critical role in promoting regional standards on trade, security, and governance. The challenges of this time call for ASEAN nations to look beyond protection of their own sovereignty toward international cooperation to address transnational challenges from terrorism to refugee crises to the erosion of democratic institutions to maritime security. This session explores the intersection of these crucial issues, including the long-term fallout of the pandemic, how Indonesia can promote effective integration on trade and security, as well as how to navigate the increasing geopolitical tensions in Southeast Asia.


Fajar B. Hirawan

Former Head, Department of Economics
Centre for Strategic and International Studies

Amy Searight

Senior Associate for Asia
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Marc Mealy

Senior Vice President-Policy
US-ASEAN Business Council

Sophal Ear

Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs
Occidental College