WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 18: United States Vice-President Mike Pence visited Japan, Singapore, Australia and Papua New Guinea this week to reaffirm President Donald Trump’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong and prosperous.
For two centuries, American security and prosperity have depended upon free and open access to the Indo-Pacific region, allowing for two-way investment and trade that today support millions of American jobs — numbers that will grow as the administration counteracts state-sponsored theft of intellectual property and other market distortions that fuel trade imbalances.
The Indo-Pacific encompasses more than half the earth’s surface, half the human family and two-thirds of global trade. Its economic and strategic significance to Americans grows by the day.
Enhancing Shared Prosperity
America has made foreign direct investments of US$1.4 trillion in the Indo-Pacific region—more than Chinese, Japanese and South Korean investments combined. President Trump’s ‘America First’ economic agenda — including deregulation, tax cuts and tax reform — also mean America is attracting more investment from the Indo-Pacific than ever before. Vice-President Pence announced new initiatives that will advance fair and reciprocal trade and mobilise even greater private investment.
- The BUILD Act, which President Trump signed in October, doubles US development finance capacity to $60 billion. This week the US, Japan and Australia signed a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding on development finance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
- Having updated the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, the Trump Administration intends to negotiate a US-Japan Trade Agreement.
- Through the Japan-US Strategic Energy Partnership, Japan will align its US$10 billion regional energy investment target with the Trump Administration’s Asia EDGE initiative.
- The new US-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership will help municipal governments advance the digital transformation of urban systems.
- The US-SEGA programme will build capacity in APEC economies to adopt high-standard, comprehensive trade and investment policies.
Ensuring a Peaceful and Secure Regional Order
Vice-President Pence deepened cooperation with allies and partners on North Korean denuclearisation, freedom of navigation in the East and South China Seas and combatting terrorism and violent extremism.
- The United States and Japan announced delivery of ten F-35As, valued at US$1.38 billion, under the US’s Foreign Military Sales programme, with six more to be delivered in 2019.
- The United States is providing more than half a billion dollars in security assistance to Indo-Pacific nations this year – more than double the previous year.
- The United States is expanding maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific Islands.
Championing Good Governance and Civil Society
Vice President Pence announced the Indo-Pacific Transparency Initiative to help countries attract greater private investment, combat corruption, and secure nations’ autonomy from foreign coercion.
- The United States promotes sound, just, and responsive governance through efforts to counter corruption, while encouraging strong civil society and honest business practices.
- In conjunction with more than $400 million, the Indo-Pacific Transparency Initiative will cooperate with allies, partners, and regional institutions, including ASEAN and APEC, to advance these shared principles.