Secretary of State Announces Economic Initiatives in the Indo-Pacific

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address the US Chamber of Commerce's Indo Pacific Forum

These sectors are foundations of the Indo-Pacific's economic future and the initiatives and funding are designed to accelerate USA private-sector investment in the region, support more job-creating USA export opportunities, and also to meet the region's needs for economic growth and development, Hook said, while declining to give details of the funds.

"These funds represent just a down payment on a new era in US economic commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region", Pompeo said a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce. The pact will mobilize investment in energy, transportation, tourism and technology infrastructure, according to the statement, which didn't give any funding details.

"This trilateral partnership is in recognition that more support is needed to enhance peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region", Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Tuesday in an emailed statement. "Economic security is national security", Pompeo said.

Four of the world's six largest economies are there as well: China, Japan, India and the US.

Unveiling President Donald Trump's economic strategy for advancing a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today announced Dollars 113 million in new regional investments focused on digital connectivity, infrastructure and energy, amidst China flexing its military muscles in the region.

"All of this, this broad sweep of initiatives in the region, is all about addressing the huge unmet demand for the provision of infrastructure throughout the Indo-Pacific region", he added.

Pompeo, however, denied that the Trump administration's developmental initiatives were aimed at countering China.

"We know that America's model of economic engagement is the healthiest for nations in the region". It supported transformational agricultural efforts, such as the Green Revolution, which forever improved the farming of wheat and rice worldwide and nowhere more than in the Indo-Pacific, he said. Beijing says it is simply a development project that any country is welcome to join. But the USA wants partnerships, not domination, he added.

Through the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, the U.S. will improve partner countries' digital connectivity and expand opportunities for USA technology exports.

Expanding energy commerce by growing foreign energy markets, expanding public-private partnerships, and fostering business-to-business connections. Asia EDGE will also catalyze private capital by partnering with firms and worldwide financial institutions on pooled finance, insurance and risk mitigation, commercial advocacy, and project development, the state department said.

Both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations tried to contend with several of these challenges, including by moving towards bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements and fashioning various initiatives to coordinate, focus, and, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) only being one example of this.

Should this pass, the United States would be better enabled to underwrite riskier private sector investments in developing countries - something long overdue. Pompeo promised more on these later this week, but it would have been good to hear the hint of a plan for economic diplomacy with each on the new U.S. vision for digital, energy, and infrastructure investment.

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