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U.S. Seeking Engagement In Asia


Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, speaks at the Malaysia Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

As part of its effort to enhance its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. is negotiating new trade agreements and seeking closer ties with existing trading partners.

One of the Obama Administration's chief stated goals is greater engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. "In every regard -- geopolitically, militarily, diplomatically, and economically -- Asia and the Pacific are indispensable to addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the 21st century," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell earlier this year, in his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

As part of its effort to enhance its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. is negotiating new trade agreements and seeking closer ties with existing trading partners. Speaking at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis said that some of the Obama administration's most exciting trade initiatives are in Asia. A pending agreement with South Korea will create some 70 thousand new jobs, and generate an additional 10 to 11 billion dollars in annual trade. Elsewhere in the region, the United States is working with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, and with the 21 member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, or APEC, to boost regional economic integration and high-quality economic growth.

The U.S. is also pursuing negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The TPP, a group which today includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, is banking on the premise that lowering tariff barriers and promoting free trade will increase prosperity among its members.

"All... [the] TPP countries share an ambition to create a 21st century trade agreement that can serve as a platform for economic integration in the Asia-Pacific," said Ambassador Marantis. "We are excited by the prospects of building this 21st-century, regional agreement and welcome other APEC members that share the TPP members’ vision and goals for a high-standard agreement."

Malaysia is 1 such country. In the words of Prime Minister Razak, "Malaysia will... take a serious look [at] strengthening its investment and economic ties with the US through the Transpacific Partnership with terms and modalities that are mutually beneficial."

Both Malaysia and the U.S. are members of the ASEAN Regional Forum and the U.S. is a Dialogue Partner with Malaysia and the ASEAN countries. The U.S. hopes that both countries will further strengthen their ties through trade and common goals for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"Malaysia is a country of dynamism, ambition, and vision, and the United States looks forward to having an even stronger Malaysia as our partner."

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