Biden Reinforces U.S. Commitment to Asia-Pacific Partnerships, Challenges China’s Economic Dominance
President Joe Biden emphasized America’s unwavering dedication to strong trade standards and beneficial partnerships across the Asia-Pacific region during his address to national leaders and CEOs attending the Asia-Pacific summit. Biden assured them that the United States is here to stay, declaring, We’re not going anywhere.
Fresh from his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden indicated that the U.S. is focused on de-risking and diversifying rather than decoupling from Beijing. However, he made it clear that the U.S. and its Pacific allies have the potential to offer businesses a better option than China. Biden also highlighted the significant investments made by U.S. economies in fellow Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, totaling $50 billion in 2023, particularly in clean energy technologies, aviation, and cybersecurity.
In an effort to showcase American leadership, Biden assured business leaders that the U.S. is committed to nurturing economic ties throughout the region, especially as they navigate the challenges posed by ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, as well as a still-recovering post-pandemic economy. He also held separate meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to reinforce the importance of regional cooperation amidst shared concerns about North Korea’s threats and China’s assertiveness. Biden’s engagement with these leaders follows a historic summit at Camp David earlier this year.
During his address to the CEOs, Biden highlighted his administration’s efforts to strengthen ties with the region, underscoring the significant economic impact of APEC members’ investments in the U.S., which have supported 2.3 million American jobs. Likewise, U.S. companies have invested about $1.4 trillion in APEC economies.
Later on, in talks with APEC leaders, Biden discussed the measures funded by his Inflation Reduction Act to combat climate change and enhance sustainability and clean energy infrastructure in the U.S. At a dinner for the APEC delegations, he challenged fellow leaders to harness the power of the Pacific for a future of greater prosperity and dignity.
Notably, the U.S. hasn’t hosted the APEC leaders’ summit since 2011, with last year’s meeting taking place in a virtual format due to the pandemic. Biden’s speech at the welcome party acknowledged the unprecedented challenges faced by APEC leaders today.
While Biden is keen on responsibly managing the strained U.S.-China relationship, his meeting with President Xi aimed to demonstrate that the U.S. and China, despite being global economic competitors, are not seeking conflict but rather stability. Xi, however, expressed concern about the state of the post-pandemic global economy, as China’s economy continues to face challenges with falling prices and the threat of protectionism. Xi emphasized the need to avoid geopolitical rivalry and new cold war scenarios.
Amidst the ongoing protests surrounding the APEC summit, Biden’s message seeks to address the vulnerabilities faced by companies in the current global economy. Supply chain disruptions, climate change-induced natural disasters, and geopolitical conflicts pose significant risks. Biden’s focus on strengthening alliances and regional cooperation serves as a countermeasure against these challenges.
Furthermore, Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, introduced during his visit to Tokyo in 2022, aims to enhance cooperation in supply chains, climate issues, anti-corruption measures, and trade. While no official trade deals will be announced, Biden’s administration highlights the effectiveness of the framework by enabling action at a faster pace compared to traditional trade deals. The progress made in three of the four pillars underpins the U.S.’s commitment to driving positive change in the Indo-Pacific region.
Overall, President Biden’s address at the APEC summit underscores America’s dedication to strengthening partnerships and promoting fair trade standards in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. aims to challenge China’s economic dominance while fostering alliances and regional cooperation to tackle the challenges faced by global economies today.