Enhancing Shared Prosperity for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, Nov 2019

Speeches Shim


In November 2017, President Donald Trump laid out the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, in which all nations are sovereign, strong and prosperous. Spanning from the U.S. west coast to India’s west coast, with the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at its center, the Indo-Pacific region is home to the world’s fastest growing markets, and offers unprecedented potential to strengthen the U.S. economy while also improving lives in Asia and around the world. Currently, the Indo-Pacific region accounts for more than one-fourth of all U.S. exports— and those numbers are growing.

In recognition that the Indo-Pacific region is a primary engine of the global economy, and as a Pacific nation itself, the United States is committed to accelerating this promising trajectory. Under our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. government is employing a whole-of-government approach to unlock private sector-led growth, including through increased engagement by dynamic American companies. Our flagship economic initiatives are the Infrastructure Transaction and Assistance Network (ITAN), Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy), and the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP).

To power growth that is sustainable and high-quality, with lasting benefits for the region and the world, U.S. policy promotes:

In just two years, the impact of our whole-of-government efforts has been far-reaching and transformational. U.S. companies are doing more business with the region, and companies from the Indo-Pacific region are doing more business with America.

The U.S. government is helping Indo-Pacific countries increase their energy security and overcome their energy-related constraints to growth while unlocking new market opportunities for the private sector.

  • In Vietnam, through a feasibility study to assess the site selection and optimal design for a $1 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and gas-to-power project, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is helping to set the initial parameters for the growth of LNG in the nation and bring much-needed affordable power to southern Vietnam.
  • Between July 2018 and October 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy authorized LNG exports from five new large-scale U.S. facilities—on top of the 10 authorized to-date—paving the way for increased LNG exports to the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In Indonesia, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) helped 11 renewable energy projects get off the ground, mobilizing $806 million in private and public sector investments during fiscal year 2018. In Vietnam, USAID has helped create an enabling environment for solar investment that has contributed to a massive increase in solar energy production over the past two years—from less than 2% of the country’s total power generation to over 10%.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy worked with the Indonesian government to integrate energy conservation targets into its 20-year electricity general plan to improve power infrastructure reliability and make electricity supply more affordable.
  • The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and Japan’s Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) have expanded their co-financing agreement to help facilitate potential U.S. LNG shipments to the Indo-Pacific. This agreement allows EXIM to help strengthen Japan’s energy security and foster a more transparent Indo-Pacific energy market.
  • The U.S. Department of State and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission launched the Flexible Resources Initiative (FRI, or “free”) under the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force. FRI consists of an actionable pathway of cost-effective strategies to optimize India’s electricity grid to include the flexible resources, such as natural gas and batteries, needed to support Prime Minister Modi’s renewable energy ambitions.

The United States is expanding market access for U.S. firms to drive increased trade with the region.

  • Since March 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce has reached over 1,000 American companies through its U.S. outreach program, Access Asia, which connects American firms to business opportunities throughout the Indo- Pacific. Commerce’s largest 2018 U.S. conference focused on the Indo-Pacific region and attracted participants from 36 U.S. states to develop business connections with Asia in the cybersecurity and aerospace and defense sectors.
  • In 2019, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross led the Department’s largest annual trade mission, Trade Winds, to India and Bangladesh, bringing 100 American companies to the region— many of whom were exploring these countries for the first time.
  • EXIM supports U.S. companies of all sizes to export their goods and services to the Indo-Pacific. With access to export credit, a Tennessee-based small business was able to find new markets abroad and create jobs in America.
  • USTDA energy activities in the Indo- Pacific have supported 37 American companies and facilitated $227 million in exports over the past two years.
  • The State Department and USAID are supporting the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), a tool to accelerate trade among the organization’s 10 member states and reduce the cost of doing business in the region. By early 2020, with U.S. technical support, the remaining three ASEAN countries are expected to have joined the ASW.

The U.S. government is helping partner countries advance reforms to ensure fair and open market competition that unlocks the power of private enterprise-led growth, and pursue transparent, market-based infrastructure deals that yield the best value.

  • In Sri Lanka, USAID supported the finalization of new publicprivate partnership procurement guidelines—adopted in 2018—to combat corruption while improving private sector competitiveness. In Laos USAID’s support led to reforms to the intellectual property law that increase transparency and due process.
  • Financing from Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is supporting up to 100,000 microloans in rural communities across Burma, where borrowers are often forced to accept high interest rates from informal lenders or pawn their land and other assets for capital.
  • In November 2018, OPIC, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the Government of Australia signed their first trilateral agreement on development finance collaboration, strengthening cooperation in support of principles-based infrastructure development and sustainable economic growth in the Indo-Pacific.
  • The State Department is partnering with Japan to improve the Indo-Pacific’s energy and infrastructure under the Japan-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership (JUSEP) and the Japan-U.S. Strategic Digital Economy Partnership (JUSDEP). These new efforts align U.S. investment with the Japanese government’s target of $10 billion in new public and private investment leveraged.

For more information on the U.S. Government’s contributions to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, please visit www.state.gov.

Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 1:00pm