Published on November 17, 2023, 6:27 am

Biden Emphasizes Us Commitment To Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation At Apec Summit

President Joe Biden is set to emphasize the strong ties between the United States and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum economies, despite challenges in progressing key trade provisions sought by regional countries. Following a high-stakes summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden will address a summit of CEOs before speaking to APEC leaders gathered in San Francisco for the organization’s annual summit.

Additionally, Biden will participate in an event with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a 14-member group established by his administration to enhance economic engagement after former President Donald Trump withdrew from a long-negotiated regional trade pact in 2017. Unfortunately, hopes for an IPEF trade deal were dashed this week as members could not agree on improving labor and environmental standards or compliance.

During his remarks to APEC leaders, Biden will focus on US progress in combating climate change, call for collective action within APEC, and demonstrate his administration’s commitment to deepening economic engagement with the region. The official added that US exports to the region have grown by 12%, with 60% of US exports sent to fellow APEC economies. Moreover, APEC members have invested $1.7 trillion into the US economy since 2016.

At an IPEF event during the summit, Biden will be joined by leaders from Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore to highlight progress in reaching agreements on supply chains. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo confirmed that IPEF countries have agreed upon pillars such as cooperation on clean energy and anti-corruption measures, as well as signing a text covering supply chain resiliency.

Furthermore, Biden plans to emphasize his administration’s efforts to advance workers’ rights in his remarks. He is committed to ensuring high labor standards, involving workers’ voices at decision-making tables, and enforcing rules against unfair labor practices.

Although most negotiations take years to conclude, officials are aiming for an accelerated timeline for the IPEF trade pillar. Biden will also note the significant investments made by companies based in APEC economies into the US since the start of his administration, surpassing $200 billion. In return, US companies have invested at least $40 billion in other APEC economies in 2023 alone.

The developments between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies and strategic rivals, are closely watched by APEC members. There is concern that intensified competition may disrupt global trade and security. As a gesture of reassurance to global businesses, President Xi dined with executives from top US firms after his talks with President Biden.

In conclusion, President Biden’s participation in the APEC summit demonstrates the United States’ commitment to strengthening economic relations in the Asia Pacific region. Despite challenges in progressing key trade provisions and increased competition with China, Biden aims to emphasize collective action on climate change, worker rights advancement, and continued bilateral cooperation for economic growth and stability within the region.

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