The United States is a Pacific Rim nation and, as such, its prosperity and security are increasingly linked to the Asia-Pacific region. As a trading nation, the United States depends on a stable, prosperous Asia for its own economic stability and security. And that is why, six years ago, President Barack Obama made the strategic decision to rebalance America’s engagement and resources toward the region.
Nowhere are economic and strategic opportunities clearer or more compelling than in the Asia-Pacific. “So given this strategic and economic context, and the incredible potential for continued gains, it’s natural that President Obama decided that we need to double-down on our engagement with the region,” said Sung Kim, Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan and Korea.
When it comes to strengthening the economies in the Pacific Rim, said Ambassador Kim, the single most important step we can take is completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP. “We are working together to create a rules-based regional trade architecture built on transparency and competition. TPP will lower tariffs and bring higher standards to an area covering a third of global trade and 40 percent of its GDP. It will change how we trade for decades to come.”
But the TPP is about more than the economic opportunities it unleashes. It is also about protecting and promoting important values like fair labor standards, environmental protection, and laws updating intellectual property rights. The standards enshrined within the agreement reflect our commitments as nations to dynamic, just, and rules-based economic practices.
“We believe the end of the negotiations is in sight,” said Ambassador Kim. “Concluding and ratifying this agreement is the most important thing we can do this year to strengthen our relationships around the Pacific Rim for many, many years to come.”