US Vice-President Harris tells Asia the US is ‘here to stay’

Biden has largely followed his predecessor Donald Trump in turning the page on the era of free-trade agreements, seeing them as unpopular among working-class US voters.

Harris insisted that economic partnerships in Asia were “a top priority” for the Biden administration and pointed out that the US private sector invests around US$1 trillion a year in the region.

“America is a strong partner to the economies and companies of this region because America is and will remain a major engine of global growth, reinforced by our administration’s approach,” she said.

She said that goal had bipartisan support, with Washington set for greater gridlock after the rival Republican Party won control of the House of Representatives in elections last week.

Biden on a trip to Tokyo earlier this year launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which brings together countries to set common standards on technology and trade in the face of China’s rapid advances but stops short of lifting tariffs like a traditional free-trade deal.

“We are all feeling the discomfort and the anxiety of the global economy today,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai told reporters Thursday.

“We need different outcomes, and that means that we also need to be innovating in how we engage each other in trade and economics and across the board,” she said.

Despite US vows of engagement, Biden skipped the APEC summit to attend his granddaughter’s wedding at the White House on Saturday.

He attended two other summits in Asia over the past week, however, in Cambodia and Indonesia.

Source: CNA

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