Biden seeks economic framework for Indo-Pacific to counteract China

Washington, Oct 27 (EFE).- President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he intends to develop an “economic framework” for the Indo-Pacific, a policy about which he offered few details that which would appear to be a new step in his strategy of counteracting the growing strength of China.

Biden made the announcement during his virtual participation in the East Asia summit organized within the framework of the meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and external partners, and which this year is being held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden “announced that the United States will explore with partners the development of an Indo-Pacific economic framework,” the White House said in a statement after the president addressed the summit, which was closed to the press.

That framework “will define our shared objectives around trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply chain resiliency, decarbonization and clean energy, infrastructure, (and) worker standards,” the White House said.

The framework will also allow discussion of “other areas of shared interest,” including infrastructure and standards for workers.

The White House did not immediately provide additional details about what this economic framework will entail or whether it would include the preparation of a new multilateral trade agreement, four years after former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Since he took office in January, Biden has avoided committing himself to any negotiations on a trade treaty nd has preferred to focus on revitalizing the US economy.

Some experts, however, have warned that the US is allowing China to have a clear road, and last year Beijing – along with 50 other nations – signed the world’s largest free trade treaty known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Aaron Connelly, an expert on Southeast Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said on Twitter that Biden’s announcement will “probably” help reduce the criticism that the White House does not have a response to China on the economic level.

What the White House has promised is next year to present an initiative, which has the backing of the G7, to invest in the infrastructures of developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Indo-Pacific and which will be called the “Build Back Better for the World” program.

In his participtation at the East Asia summit, Biden also “reiterated the US commitment to the international rules-based order and expressed concern over threats to that order. He made clear that the United States will continue to stand with allies and partners in support of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and freedom of the seas,” the White House said.

Participating in the summit were the leaders of the US, China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, as well as almost all the ASEAN partner countries: Brunei, Cambodia, The Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The only ASEAN partner not attending the summit was Myanmar, or Burma, which was banned by the group due to the reluctance of the ruling military junta to adhere to the agreements reached in April within the multilateral organization to resolve the profound crisis in that country after the Feb. 1, 2021, coup d’etat.

Related Articles

Back to top button