As part of his visit to a number of Asian countries, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave a speech yesterday about various aspects of the Biden administration's Indo-Pacific strategy, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that has been promoted by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
In his speech in Jakarta on a "A Free and Open Indo-Pacific," he said that "[t]he United States has already provided more than $1 trillion in foreign direct investment in the Indo-Pacific," and that it plans to do more. In this regard, he noted that the Biden administration will "identify opportunities that American firms aren’t finding on their own, and make it easier for them to bring their expertise and their capital to new places and new sectors."
He also talked about the administration's plans to "shape the rules of the growing digital economy on key issues like data privacy and security, but in a way that reflects our values, and unlocks opportunities for our people."
And he discussed concerns with supply chains, and said "[w]e’ll work with partners to make our supply chains more secure and more resilient."
Finally, he talked about "clos[ing the gap on infrastructure," noting that "[c]ountries in the Indo-Pacific want a better kind of infrastructure ... [b]ut many feel it’s too expensive, or they feel pressured to take bad deals on terms set by others rather than no deals at all." Therefore, the Biden administration "will work with countries in the region to deliver the high-quality, high-standards infrastructure that people deserve." An an example, he pointed to a new partnership, involving Australia and Japan as well, with the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, and Nauru to build a new undersea cable to improve internet connectivity to these Pacific nations.
These remarks were summarized in a State Department fact sheet, with additional details in a fact sheet on the United States-Indonesia Relationship. Excerpts from the speech and the two facts sheets are below.
Antony Blinken, "A Free and Open Indo-Pacific," December 14, 2021:
Third, we will promote broad-based prosperity. The United States has already provided more than $1 trillion in foreign direct investment in the Indo-Pacific. The region has told us loud and clear that it wants us to do more. We intend to meet that call. At President Biden’s direction, we’re developing a comprehensive Indo-Pacific economic framework to pursue our shared objectives, including around trade and the digital economy, technology, resilient supply chains, decarbonization and clean energy, infrastructure, worker standards, and other areas of shared interest.
Our diplomacy will play a key part. We’ll identify opportunities that American firms aren’t finding on their own, and make it easier for them to bring their expertise and their capital to new places and new sectors. Our diplomatic posts, our embassies across the Indo-Pacific are already leading on this, and we’re going to surge capacity so that they can do more. More than 2,300 business and government leaders from the region joined me for this year’s Indo-Pacific Business Forum, which we co-hosted with India, and where we announced nearly $7 billion in new private-sector projects.
We’ll work with our partners to shape the rules of the growing digital economy on key issues like data privacy and security, but in a way that reflects our values, and unlocks opportunities for our people. Because if we don’t shape them, others will. And there’s a good chance they’ll do it in a way that doesn’t advance our shared interests or our shared values.
At APEC in November, President Biden set out a clear vision for how we can build a common way forward in the region. On digital technologies, he talked about the need for an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, and our strong interest in investing in cybersecurity and developing digital economy standards that will position all of our economies to compete in the future. And when U.S. Trade Representative Tai and I co-led our delegation to the APEC ministerial in November, we focused on the need to ensure that technology serves a free and open Indo-Pacific.
We’ll also promote fair and resilient trade. That’s the story of the ASEAN Single Window, a project the United States supported to create a single automated system for clearing customs across the region. It helped streamline trade by making it more transparent and secure, lowering costs for business and prices for consumers. And the move from paper to digital customs has made is possible to keep cross-border trade moving, even during the lockdowns.
During the first year of the pandemic, the countries that were most active on the platform saw their trade activity rise by 20 percent, when most other cross-border trade was actually falling. And at the U.S.-ASEAN Summit in October, President Biden committed additional U.S. support to the Single Window. We’ll work with partners to make our supply chains more secure and more resilient. I think we have all seen, through the pandemic, just how vulnerable they are, how damaging disruptions can be, including shortages of masks and microchips and pileups at ports.
We’ve been leading efforts to bring the international community together to try to resolve bottlenecks and build greater resiliency against future shocks. President Biden convened a Leaders Summit on supply chain resilience. Vice President Harris made it a core focus of her meetings during her visit to the region. Commerce Secretary Raimondo has tackled the issue with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia on her recent travel. And U.S. Trade Representative Tai launched the interagency Supply Chain Trade Task Force, and raised the issue in her travel to Japan, the Republic of Korea, and India. In the new year, the Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, and I will team up to convene government and private-sector leaders from around the world to tackle these issues at a Global Supply Chain Forum. As the hub of so much of the globe’s production and commerce, this region, the Indo-Pacific, will be core to these efforts.
Finally, we’ll help close the gap on infrastructure. There is, in this region as well as around the world, a large gap when it comes to infrastructure needs and what’s currently being provided. Ports, roads, power grids, broadband – all are building blocks for global trade, for commerce, for connectivity, for opportunity, for prosperity. And they’re essential to the Indo-Pacific’s inclusive growth. But we’re hearing increasing concerns from government officials, industry, labor, and communities in the Indo-Pacific about what happens when infrastructure isn’t done right, like when it’s awarded through opaque, corrupt processes, or built by overseas companies that import their own labor, extract resources, pollute the environment, and drive communities into debt.
Countries in the Indo-Pacific want a better kind of infrastructure. But many feel it’s too expensive, or they feel pressured to take bad deals on terms set by others rather than no deals at all. So we will work with countries in the region to deliver the high-quality, high-standards infrastructure that people deserve. In fact, we’re already doing that.
Just this week, together with Australia and Japan, we announced a partnership with the Federated States of Micronesia, with Kiribati, and Nauru to build a new undersea cable to improve internet connectivity to these Pacific nations. And since 2015, the members of the Quad have provided more than $48 billion in government-backed financing for infrastructure for the region. This represents thousands of projects across more than 30 countries, from rural development to renewable energy. It benefits millions of people.
The Quad recently launched an infrastructure coordination group to catalyze even more investment, and it is looking to partner with Southeast Asia on infrastructure and many other shared priorities. The United States will do more than that. Build Back Better World, which we launched with our G7 partners in June, is committed to mobilizing hundreds of billions of dollars in transparent, sustainable financing over the coming years. And together with Australia and Japan, we launched the Blue Dot Network to start certifying high-quality infrastructure projects that meet the benchmarks developed by the G20, the OECD, and others, and to attract additional investors.
Secretary Blinken’s Remarks on a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, Fact Sheet, December 13, 2021
Third, we will promote broad-based prosperity. The United States has already provided more than a trillion dollars in foreign direct investment in the Indo-Pacific, and we will meet the call from the region to do more.
- At President Biden’s direction, we are developing a comprehensive Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that will pursue our shared objectives, including those around trade facilitation, the digital economy and technology, resilient supply chains, decarbonization and clean energy, infrastructure, worker standards, and other priorities.
- We are shaping the rules of the growing digital economy to unlock opportunities for our people and ensure strong data privacy and security protections.
- This week, together with Australia and Japan, we announced a partnership with the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, and Nauru to build a new undersea cable to improve internet connectivity to these Pacific nations.
- We also are working with partners to make our supply chains more secure and resilient. The pandemic has highlighted just how vulnerable our supply chains are and how damaging disruptions can be, including shortages of masks and micro-chips, plus pile-ups at ports.
- All the while, we will deliver the quality, high-standard infrastructure the region seeks. Build Back Better World, which we launched alongside G7 partners in June, is committed to mobilizing hundreds of billions of dollars in transparent, sustainable financing over the coming years.
- The United States is also supporting sustainable and inclusive commercial activity across the region. The October 2021 Indo-Pacific Business Forum, co-hosted by the United States and India, brought together more than 2,300 business and government leaders to promote economic engagement and highlighted nearly $7 billion in new private sector projects.
The United States-Indonesia Relationship, Fact Sheet, December 2021
Growing Bilateral Trade and Investment Ties Will Help Our Economies Thrive
- The United States remains deeply committed to Indonesia’s prosperity. We are invested in upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all nations, including Indonesia, are able to pursue economic growth consistent with international law and principles of fair competition. Our bilateral trade and investment relationship presents myriad opportunities to create more jobs and economic growth to benefit all our citizens.
- We are deploying new and innovative tools to bolster the engagement of U.S. businesses in Indonesia for the benefit of both countries. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is catalyzing U.S. private sector investment in Indonesia’s growing infrastructure, digital, and energy sectors, and the recent signing of a bilateral infrastructure finance agreement will attract private sector capital to meet Indonesia’s estimated $1.5 trillion infrastructure gap.
- U.S. companies are major investors in Indonesia’s economy, contributing to sustainable growth across diverse sectors. Working collaboratively to elevate trade standards, including creating a more inclusive process that brings workers from all backgrounds to the table, will ensure that the benefits of global trade are more widely shared. We believe this will lead to more durable trade policies that receive a broad range of stakeholder support and deliver real results.