“America’s prosperity and Asia’s prosperity are inseparable . . . Our shared prosperity and shared security are just as tightly linked,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said recently to an international business group in New York City.
America’s alliances and partnerships have guaranteed security within the Asia region for seven decades, which has served as the foundation for increased economic ties and growth in the region: trade with Australia nearly doubled in the last decade; the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement was implemented; an Open Skies agreement with Japan liberalized air travel; and much more.
“We are working actively to ensure that a stable security environment underwrites economic growth for the Asia-Pacific, instead of instability threatening progress,” Assistant Secretary Russel said. “No country can provide the public good of regional security in the way the United States can.”
At the top of the United States’ business agenda for 2015 is the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
“In this uncertain political environment, and with growth flat in the European Union and slowing in China, the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership could not be clearer,” he said.
“[The Trans-Pacific Partnership] will strengthen America’s role as one of the most competitive, most innovative economies in the world, as well as one of the biggest trading partners, and source and destination of foreign investment in the region,” Assistant Secretary Russel emphasized.
“Just as important, a high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership will strengthen our partner economies, and other regional economies that share the priority we place on labor, environmental, and intellectual property standards, and on fair competition.”
“I believe the United States and the Asia-Pacific region will continue to grow and prosper together,” he said in conclusion. “But it depends on wise leadership – in both our political and commercial capitals here and in the region." It depends on businesses making and strengthening connections across the Pacific.