The United States sets ‘common goals’ for economic cooperation between the Indo-Pacific region in early 2022
The United States sets ‘common goals’ for economic cooperation between the Indo-Pacific region in early 2022

The United States sets ‘common goals’ for economic cooperation between the Indo-Pacific region in early 2022

Chinese and American flags fluttering outside a corporate building in Shanghai, China November 16, 2021. REUTERS / Aly Song

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Reuters) – A senior U.S. political official for China said Wednesday that Washington is aiming to establish “common goals” for economic cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries in early 2022, as Washington seeks to address Beijing’s influence in the region.

US President Joe Biden told Asian leaders in October that Washington would begin negotiations to create an Indo-Pacific economic framework. But few details have emerged, and the administration has avoided moves toward re-entering trade agreements, which critics say threaten U.S. jobs. Read more

White House Senior Director for China Laura Rosenberger told a webinar that discussions with partners in recent months had helped “crystallize” the administration’s thoughts on how to pursue such a framework.

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“Our initial ideas on proposed areas for economic cooperation include trade facilitation, digital finance standards, supply chain resilience, infrastructure, decarbonization and clean energy, export controls, taxation and anti-corruption,” Rosenberger told the National Bureau of Asian Research think tank. event.

“And we will continue to focus on establishing common goals and end states, which we will jointly announce in the coming months, the early period of 2022,” she said without giving details.

Conversations about different parts of the frame “will move at different speeds,” she said.

Rosenberger said she had nothing new to say about the administration’s view of a regional trade framework now known as the CPTPP, which the Trump administration left in 2017. But she stressed the importance of both promoting a free and open region and protecting American workers, which critics claim would be threatened by US participation in the pact.

U.S. officials “all feel a sense of general urge” to put the United States in the best position to be able to compete, she said.

Relations between the United States and China have sunk to their lowest point in decades as Biden has sought to exploit ties with allies and partners to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s growing economic and military coercion.

The White House has proclaimed its so-called AUKUS pact, after which the United States and Britain have agreed to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines – as well as summit-level summits between the United States, Australia, India and Japan – as proof that US partnerships are causing China “heartburn.”

But some Indo-Pacific countries, many of which consider China their best trading partner, have lamented what they see as lacks US economic commitment.

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Reporting by Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom and Rami Ayyub; Edited by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman

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