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Economic Aspects Of The Asia Rebalance

People shop at a Hypermart store in Jakarta.

Trade and investment between U.S. and East Asia have increased significantly but there is tremendous potential to further strengthen ties.

“Recognizing that America’s future prosperity and security are very much intertwined with the prosperity and security of the East Asia-Pacific region, President [Barack] Obama made a strategic commitment ... to rebalance our interests and investments to this region,” U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel said recently in his testimony on U.S. economic relations with the East Asia-Pacific before the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.

“The United States . . . [aims] to sustain a stable security environment and advance a regional order rooted in economic openness, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for universal rights and freedoms,” he said.

Trade and investment between the United States and the East Asia-Pacific region have increased significantly in the past five years, but there is tremendous potential to further strengthen our ties with this fast-growing region.

The U.S. State Department, in conjunction with the inter-agency team, has stepped up economic engagement both bilaterally and through regional economic initiatives such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, or APEC.

“To get it right requires a whole-of-government effort in close partnership with our private sector,” Mr. Marciel emphasized. “We are broadening our focus to elevate issues of economic development (including energy, environment, health and education), commercial diplomacy, and entrepreneurship.”

A peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific benefits the peoples of the United States and of the region.”
A shared commitment to economic growth and innovation is one reason why the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is a cornerstone of the United States’ economic policy in Asia. The 12 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP, one-third of world trade and include five of the top 15 economies in the world. The TPP agreement will benefit these countries by increasing market access between members and fostering opportunities for greater economic prosperity for their citizens.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement . . . will drive growth and create jobs across the Asia-Pacific region and the United States,” Mr. Marciel said. “Trade ministers will meet again early next year. We believe [negotiations] can move ahead swiftly, but . . . substance will drive the timetable.”

“We see the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement . . . as a compelling platform for regional economic integration as the economic benefits of its high standards become apparent and its membership expands over time,” Mr. Marciel said. In conclusion, he added, “A peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific benefits the peoples of the United States and of the region.”