Feb 2, 2018
As an Indo-Pacific nation, the U.S. has significant strategic and economic interests in the region.
The U.S. west coast through the Bay of Bengal “represents more than half the global population and more than half of the global economy” observed Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Daniel Rosenblum. The United States is one of the leading trading partners for the region and is also a major donor and investor, both through private sector companies and as the largest individual shareholder in the World Bank and the co-largest shareholder along with Japan in the Asian Development Bank..
The rapid economic growth during the last few decades has lifted millions out of poverty and allowed for the development of a thriving middle class. But despite this rapid growth, South Asia lags behind Southeast Asia in measures of intraregional trade and connectivity.
But this doesn't have to be the case. The World Bank estimates that with barriers removed and streamlined custom procedures, interregional trade in South Asia would nearly quadruple from the current $28 billion to over $100 billion.
As part of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, the United States intends to strengthen its established alliances and partnerships, while expanding relationships with new partners that share respect for sovereign, fair, and reciprocal trade, and the rule of law.
The United States will work to preserve a system in which international relations is conducted in accordance with established norms and in conformity with international law. Such a system is essential to allow countries to ensure their own security and sovereignty, respond quickly to disasters, and helps keep sea lanes open for the movement of increasingly high volumes of trade.
Building infrastructure will be critical to expanding economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region. Without the right bridges, roads, air and sea ports, it is almost impossible for any country, let alone an entire region, to achieve their full economic potential. The United States will work with like-minded partners to strengthen transparency and governance in infrastructure financing to ensure that these projects meet their needs and do not saddle them with unaffordable debt.
The United States looks forward to working with countries in the Indo-Pacific region that share its vision of a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific where sovereignty is upheld and a rules-based system respected.