The U.S. and Asia: Toward Economic Integration or Fragmentation?
With the U.S.-China rivalry entering a more dangerous stage, Asia’s stunning economic success in recent decades through greater trade and integration — and its benefits to the United States — is now under strain. Washington has ramped up its security strategy to counter, even contain, China through the AUKUS pact and by backing greater spoke-to-spoke security connectivity between its allies and partners. China’s intrusions in its neighborhood have sparked concerns in South and Southeast Asia. Responding to criticism of a lack of a U.S. economic strategy for Asia, Washington has unveiled a new initiative — the Indo-Pacific Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) — which has attracted fourteen Asian and Pacific states thus far. However, details of the IPEF still remain unclear. The region has not waited for the United States however, and forged ahead with the CPTPP and (ASEAN-led) RCEP trade agreements and the continuing strength of the APEC grouping.
Does the U.S. economic strategy in the Asia-Pacific tilt too far toward zero-sum competition and not enough toward cooperation with China? Can the pathway of greater economic integration and trade facilitation continue in the region, and how can American anxieties on potential job losses be addressed? How can the United States and Asia work together to combat common challenges such as climate change and pandemics?
To explore these issues in greater depth, the Quincy Institute will host a panel discussion featuring Rebecca Sta. Maria, Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat based in Singapore, Marc Mealy, Senior Vice President-Policy at the US-ASEAN Business Council, and Sarang Shidore, Director of Studies at the Quincy Institute. Michael D. Swaine, Director of QI’s East Asia program, will moderate.