For a true return to Asia, Biden needs a proactive business strategy

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As world leaders prepare to gather for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit this month, one member economy will stand out noticeably.

The Biden-Harris administration has signaled its intention to restore US leadership in the Indo-Pacific. Several cabinet members have already visited the region during the first year of administration, and in September, President BidenJoe BidenBiden denounces Nicaraguan ‘mock election’, calls on Ortegas autocrats Amtrak chief presents expansion plans with infrastructure spending hosted the very first Top of the quads to the White House. Just before the Quad Summit, the United States concluded AUKUS, which supplies Australia with nuclear submarines to enhance maritime security in the region.

However, in Asia the strategy isn’t just about planes, ships and submarines, it’s about commerce. the presentation by China of its membership request The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the aftermath of the AUKUS announcement accentuated the lack of US economic leadership in the region since President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Goldman Sachs boss speaks out on infrastructure vote: “Progressives have blinked” FIXED: Guardian op-ed says Trump is probably “Biden’s best hope for re-election” Trump denounces Senate Republicans, McConnell on the PLUS Infrastructure Bill pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2017. Since then, the United States has been sidelined as Asian economies continue to write the region’s economic rules.

U.S. Seriously Considering Hosting APEC in 2023 as Vice President Harris announcement during his visit to Singapore last August. The administration must now begin to develop and publicize an economic strategy for the Indo-Pacific with a proactive trade agenda at its core. We sincerely hope that “new global Indo-Pacific strategy»That the Secretary of State Antoine BlinkenAntony Blinken Israeli officials say US should open consulate for Palestinians in West Bank overnight Defense and National Security – Washington gathers for Colin Powell funeral Lawmakers call on Biden administration to take further action against spyware groups PLUS teased during his recent meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, underscores the importance of US leadership on trade in the region.

We understand that national concerns currently make it very difficult to re-integrate a large multilateral trading bloc, such as the TPP or CPTPP. However, the interest of China and other countries in joining the CPTPP should also be a call to action for the Biden-Harris administration: President Biden should build on the hard work of the Obama administration. -Biden by joining the CPTPP in one form or another. In the meantime, technology deals can be a good first step in sending a strong signal to American partners and competitors that America is back. Time is running out as a number of existing digital agreements and frameworks are already in place in the Indo-Pacific through existing multilateral agreements. An alternative path involves bilateral or “minilateral” sectoral agreements, such as Singapore’s digital economy agreements, which harmonize technology standards and systems with like-minded economies. Its partnership agreement for the digital economy with Chile and New Zealand, for example, provides a framework to facilitate cross-border digital trade and is open to new memberships.

US involvement in rule-making for the digital economy can also enhance economic opportunities for the global middle class. The digital economy is an incredible force for democratization. Not only is it accessible to anyone or business with an internet connection, but also presents low barriers to entry for businesses selling online compared to a traditional store. Most importantly, the digital economy offers opportunities for human capital development regardless of geographic location, which can translate into well-paying jobs. Members of the US Congress understand the value digital deals with Asian markets not only for American leadership abroad, but also for their constituents at home.

Within the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN is at the heart of this digital opportunity. Multi-billion dollar Southeast Asian tech unicorns, such as Gojek, Grab, Sea and Tokopedia, were incubated by the world’s fastest growing digital economy, which is expected to nearly triple in size to $ 300 billion by 2025. ASEAN has 915 million active mobile connections, a number one and a half times larger than its population. Foreign investors recognize the greater potential of Asia’s fifth-largest economy. ASEAN received $ 338 billion in US foreign direct investment. This is more than the United States has invested in China, India, Japan and South Korea combined.

A forward-looking economic strategy that builds on existing bilateral agreements with Japan, Korea and Singapore and digital commerce chapter of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is essential for the United States to reinvigorate its relationship with its friends and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom have already stressed that strengthening economic engagement with growing Asian economies is a key part of their broader trade strategies. To prove that the Biden-Harris administration is serious about the Indo-Pacific, America must return to the negotiating table before it is too late.

Ambassador (Retired) Ted Osius is President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. Monica Hardy Whaley is President of the APEC National Center.


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