‘US is here to stay, says Kamala, promising more regional engagement
In her opening remarks at the Apec CEO Summit, US Vice President Kamala Harris said Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific hold critical importance to the United States.
In her speech on Friday, she said the US has an “enduring economic commitment … measured not in years, but in decades and generations” to the region.
“The US is here to stay,” Harris promised as she stressed Washington’s previous efforts in the region, such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which is dedicated to equitable growth and high environmental and labour standards.
She also cited the Quad Vaccine Partnership launched last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our message is clear. The US has an enduring economic commitment to the Indo-Pacific, one that is measured not in years, but in decades and generations,” she said.
Strengthening partnerships with the private sector is also crucial to the United States' plan to engage with the region, the vice president said.
“The US is here to stay. Strengthening our economic relationships in this region and partnering with the private sector is a top priority for the US and a bipartisan one,” Harris said.
The Biden administration is also pioneering new models in economic cooperation, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework launched earlier this year to promote fair trade, supply chain resilience, clean energy and anti-corruption, she said.
The US and Japan have this year also signed a digital trade agreement that covers data flow, e-commerce and privacy issues. The US is committed to supporting new infrastructure investment in the developing world and has called on the private sector to help strengthen supply chains and promote clean energy, she added.
Citing the US Chips and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act, Harris said a stronger US economy would benefit not just Indo-Pacific partners but the entire region.
She added that the US government is committed to efforts that increase foreign direct investment and the free flow of capital. She also called on economies to ensure growth is equitable across society.
“As we go forward together, companies and economies in this region will find a US that brings immense opportunities for growth, a US that will uphold the rules of the road and a US that will help build prosperity for everyone,” the vice president said.
Apec 2022 is being held at Bangkok’s Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre and wraps up on Saturday.