TOKYO – President Joe Biden on Monday is set to launch a new Indo-Pacific trade pact aimed at signaling US commitment to the region and meeting the need for stability in trade following the chaos caused by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The White House says the new Indo-Pacific economic framework will help the economies of the United States and Asia work more closely on issues including supply chains, digital commerce, clean energy, worker protection and the fight against corruption. Details still need to be discussed among member states, making it difficult for the administration to say how the structure can deliver on its promise to help U.S. workers and businesses, as well as meet global needs.
On Monday, during Biden’s visit to Tokyo for talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the countries to sign under the frame were to be announced. This is the latest step by the Biden administration to try to maintain and expand U.S. influence in a region that until recently seemed to be increasingly influenced by China.
Biden is in the midst of a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan – the first trip to Asia since his presidency – ending on Tuesday. The White House announced plans to build an economic structure in October as a replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which the U.S. withdrew in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.
The new pact comes at a time when the administration believes it has the upper hand in competition with Beijing. Bloomberg Economics published a report last week that projected U.S. GDP growth of about 2.8% in 2022 compared to 2% in China, which tried to contain the coronavirus through strict closure while tackling real estate collapses. The slowdown has undermined speculation that China will automatically overtake the U.S. as the world’s leading economy.
“The fact that the United States will grow faster than China this year, for the first time since 1976, is a clear example of how countries in the region should look at trends and trajectories,” the White House said in a statement. . advisor Jake Sullivan.
Critics say the framework has obvious flaws. It does not offer potential partners incentives by lowering tariffs and does not provide subscribers with greater access to U.S. markets. These restrictions may not make the U.S. framework an attractive alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is still moving forward after the U.S. rescued. China, the largest trading partner for many in the region, is also looking to join thermal power plants.
“I think a lot of partners will look at this list and say,‘ This is a good list of issues. “I’m excited to participate,” said Matthew Goodman, a former director of international economics at the National Security Council during President Barack Obama’s administration. “Participate in this framework?”
Countries can participate in both trade deals.
Biden’s first stop on Monday was a private meeting with Japanese Emperor Naruhito at Naruhito’s residence in the lush territories of the Imperial Palace before plunging into extensive talks with Kishid on trade, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the North Korean nuclear threat, and two. ‘Answers to COVID-19 and more.
Kishida and Biden will also meet with the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago. The Prime Minister of Japan took office last fall and seeks to strengthen ties with the United States and build a personal relationship with Biden. He will take the president to a restaurant for dinner.
The launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Structure, also known as IPEF, has been called by the White House one of the most important moments of Biden’s trip to Asia and his ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with Pacific allies. Through all this, administration officials have closely monitored the growth of China’s economic and military power in the region.
In September, the United States announced a new partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom called AUKUS, which aims to deepen cooperation in security, diplomacy and defense in the Asia-Pacific region. Thanks to this partnership with AUKUS, Australia will purchase nuclear submarines, and the US should increase the deployment of rotating forces in Australia.
The U.S. president also paid close attention to an informal alliance known as the Quad, which formed during the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 230,000 people. Biden and his fellow leaders from the alliance, which also includes Australia, India and Japan, are set to gather in Tokyo for their second personal meeting in less than a year. Since Biden took office, the leaders have also made two video calls.
Earlier this month, Biden gathered representatives of nine of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington for the first summit in the history of the organization in the US capital. At the summit, Biden announced that the United States is investing about $ 150 million in clean energy and infrastructure initiatives in ASEAN countries.
On Sunday, Sullivan confirmed that Taiwan, which has aspired to IPEF membership, is not among the governments to be included. The involvement of the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China claims on its own, has annoyed Beijing.
Sullivan said the United States wants to deepen economic partnerships with Taiwan, including on high technology and individual semiconductor supplies.
Biden will end his five days in Asia on Tuesday with a Quad meeting and one-on-one talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The center-left leader of the Australian Labor Party this weekend defeated incumbent President Scott Morrison and ended nine years of conservative rule.
Modi, the leader of the world’s largest democracy, has refused to join the United States and other allies in imposing sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. During a video call last month, Biden asked Modi not to speed up the purchase of Russian oil.
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