Asia Pacific Economic: Recommendations for the Incoming Administration
“No region of the world will do more to shape U.S. economic prospects over the coming decades
than the Asia Pacific. More of our trade, growth, and jobs than ever are tied to the world’s fastest-
Those are the premises of a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, that lays out regional policy recommendations for the incoming administration. The numbers speak for themsevles. Over the past 40 years, the economies of the Asia Pacific region have grown by 500 percent. Over one-quarter of United States exports today are destined for Asia-Pacific countries.
By 2030, the report posits, Asia will house over half of the world’s middle-class consumers. This presents opportunities for U.S. exporters, from agricultural products to advanced technologies and services.
China represents the main challenge to U.S. leadership in the region. “The United States benefits from a cooperative U.S.-China relationship, but a positive relationship cannot be sustained if it does not advance the interests of both countries,” the report noted. “Washington must be willing to work with Beijing, but also to hold China accountable.”
Among the report’s recommendartions is to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “Ratification of TPP—fixed as needed—is critical to U.S. credibility in Asia and to our role as champion of a rules-based order following Western norms,” said the report. “The new administration should work toward its eventual passage and in the meantime continue to promote liberalization and high-standard rules like
those in TPP.”
The report also advocates rebalancing the relationship between the U.S. and China. “The new administration should continue to pursue cooperation with Beijing where possible,” the report said, “while responding forcefully to Chinese practices that harm U.S. interests.”
The new administration should also develop a more coherent strategy for U.S. involvement in the current infrastructure investment push across Asia. “The strategy should be built around U.S. strengths,” the report said, “including commitment to the rule of law, transparency, and world-leading companies.”
The Asia-Pacific economic architecture should be updated, the report advocates. The new administration should support economic institutions like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and should fully participate in the economic dimensions of ASEAN cooperation.
The administration and Congress should assess U.S. spending priorities in the region “and identify where additional investments are needed.”