Recognizing that its prosperity is inextricably linked to the prosperity of Asia-Pacific region, the United States of America today reported some of the successs for the last 18 months to in enhancing its economic engagement with the region.
In her remarks in Hong Kong, Under Secretary Robert D. Hormats for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment identifies some of the opportunities and challenges both region face in the future.
“The United States historically has had an extremely strong business relationship and extremely strong commercial ties with Hong Kong.” – Mr. Hormats
Mr. Hormats says President Obama and Secretary Clinton signaled in a large number of speeches America’s foreign policy shift toward Asia, really beginning about four years ago by focusing more attention on the Asia Pacific region.
He pointed out this really began at the start of the Obama Administration.
Economic history is being made in this region today, it has been made over the last decade, and it will continue to be made in the coming decades, Mr. Hormats highlighted.
Asian economies are not only growing rapidly, which they are, but they are also including more and more people in the creation of that growth and the benefits derived from that growth, Mr. Hormats noted.
He adds U.S. companies have been investing in, and trading with, Asian economies at an exponentially faster rate over the past decade.
Mr. Hormats cites a few highlights of what the US has included in expanding business engagement in the region:
(1) Seeking to forge more open economic ties, particularly through enhanced engagement with regional institutions such as ASEAN and APEC;
(2) Promoting a free system of commerce and investment and the exchange of ideas by pushing for lower tariffs, through trade expansion, and increased investment throughout the region, along with measures to protect intellectual property, and broader and deeper dialogues within regional institutions;
(3) Advancing a more transparent system with rules and with regulations that will promote higher standards, such as through the TPP and through other vehicles; and
(4) Supporting a fairer system, a system that respects “rules of the road” on trade and investment, particularly through extensive and constructive dialogues with emerging economies of the region in APEC, in ASEAN, and in other groups, engaging a wide number of countries in the region in a wide range of dialogues.
He says that through the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, as well as other fora such as the JCCT, US has focused on building a cooperative economic partnership with China.
“The United States welcomes a strong, a prosperous, and a successful China that plays a key role in world affairs and adheres to international standards.” – Mr. Hormats
Mr. Hormats notes the key elements of the U.S. approach as well.
“First, we support and encourage the integration of China more fully into the global, rules-based economic and trading system. “ – Mr. Hormats
Second, the US aims to expand U.S. exporters’ access to the Chinese market,
“Third, we encourage continued Chinese investment in the United States and to ensure a level playing field for U.S. investors seeking to invest in China.” – Mr. Hormats
In addition, US engagement in the Asia Pacific region stretches well beyond China, from an American point of view, has been demonstrated by very recent visits by the President and the Secretary of State.
According to Mr. Hormats, the US is now focusing much of its attention on strengthening economic ties with ASEAN.
In Indonesia, the US has established a very robust commercial dialogue to help identify new and mutually beneficial business relations.
In 2013, the US anticipates even closer collaboration with Indonesia, because Indonesia will be host of APEC next year and that will give it a very important role in shaping trans-Pacific cooperation.
According to Mr. Hormats, exports to the ASEAN countries together exceeded $76 billion, up 42 percent since 2009.
“This makes ASEAN the sixth largest destination for U.S. exports after the EU, Canada, Mexico, China and Japan.” – Mr. Hormats
In addition, Mr. Hormats notes that President Obama’s National Export Initiative or NEI has been a major factor in this effort because its goal is to double exports over a 5-year period.
The US sees ASEAN as an important recipient of large numbers of increased American exports.
The US also has sought to forge more open ties with Southeast Asian nations through institutionalizing the U.S-ASEAN Leaders meeting and through its participation very recently in the East Asia Summit.
Under the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement or TIFA, Mr. Hormats says the United States and ASEAN are working on new trade initiatives on digital connectivity, on healthcare, on services, on agribusiness, and on consumer goods.
Mr. Hormatas pointed out that the bottom line is that this engagement can create jobs in the United States and in all of the partner countries engaged in this process.
“This is not a “zero sum game” we’re involved in. It is a process by which through trade and investment, we can create more jobs in all the countries in this region.” – Mr. Hormats
US considers Asia-Pacific region as emerging epicenter of economic growth.
The Asia-Pacific region is emerging more and more as the center of gravity in global affairs.
United States is counting on India’s rise as a global power and one that engages from the Middle East and East Asia to Africa and beyond.
The Obama Administration has high hopes for the U.S.-India relationship, and we are working hard to ensure that our ambitions are matched by results.
US says Asia-Pacific is also home to military buildups, nuclear proliferation, piracy, trafficking, natural disasters, and serious environmental and ecological challenges.
The United States renews and reinforces its longtime role as a Pacific power.
The United States has always been a Pacific nation, and it has strengthened and reaffirmed its Pacific alliances.