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Trump Pitches 'America First' Trade Policy at Asia-Pacific Summit

14 November 2017

"When the United States enters into a trading relationship with other countries or other peoples, we will from now on expect that our partners will faithfully follow the rules", he said in the seaside resort of Danang.

U.S. President Donald Trump will be pushing for India's membership to the 21 member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC ) early next week when Prime Minister Modi and President Trump will be at the APEC summit in Manila, according to Dennis Wilder, Former high ranking Central Intelligence Agency expert on China and who is now professor of Asian Studies at the Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Such a vision marginalizes the shared values and interests of long-held alliances, as well as an ongoing effort to network American allies and friends together-such as the quadrilateral meeting among the U.S., Japan, Australia and India on APEC's sidelines. By expanding Asia's geographic net to include the world's largest democracy, this larger region encompasses a greater balance favoring rule of law, freedom of navigation, open trade, and democracy.

The Trump administration has argued that TPP was a bad deal that was unfair to American workers.

"We were not ready to close the TPP 11 yesterday", he said. "Indo- Pacific" is the new geopolitical word game that is being played out by the U.S. lately. He is in the region as part of a five-nation tour of Asia.

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If there was a sop to the region, it was President Trump's promise to request the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to focus on high-quality infrastructure investment that promotes economic growth. "Our security and our prosperity depend on the United States maintaining access for free flow of commerce to this region, because we're a Pacific nation".

Beyond the wordplay lies both concern and scepticism in Beijing at US attempts to complicate China's strategic domain, particularly by encouraging rival power India to work more closely militarily with Japan. However, the United States can not achieve that goal without strong Asian partnerships-including with India.

"Behind Indo-Pacific you have Japan's economic support, India's development speed and Australia's fears of China, these are all strategic realities".

Their talks had looked in doubt in the face of last minute resistance from Canada, but ministers announced they were near agreement on a deal they rebaptised the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Our main focus is Asia-Pacific cooperation, ' he added.

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There was no immediate word on Canada's stance. Who is containing China? The White House is very clear this is not a containment strategy, but it is a competitive strategy.

The rise of India as an economic power following its free market reforms and then its gradual military build-up was itself a key factor in the increasing significance of the Indian Ocean, he said. But the president offered little detail about that approach.

The president - who pulled the United States out of the Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership - said the US would no longer join "large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible". If there is a Trump administration legacy on the Asia-Pacific, it might well be a rebalance to the commercial in U.S. -Asia relations.

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Trump Pitches 'America First' Trade Policy at Asia-Pacific Summit