May 21, 2024

March 11, 2024 at 5:27 am US wants to be “economic partner of choice” for Indo-Pacific – Raimondo

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will lead a presidential trade and investment mission to the Philippines starting Monday. The United States is committed to strengthening economic ties in the region.

Raimondo plans to highlight the Philippines as a key hub for regional supply chains and investments in support of the US Indo-Pacific strategy on Monday and Tuesday. After that, the President will travel to Thailand for two days to attend the Export Council meeting.

“We want to deepen our economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region — some of the fastest-growing, dynamic economies in the world,” Raimondo said in an interview, adding that the trip “aims to expand our economy and intensify business ties in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Security engagement between the Philippines and the United States has increased significantly under President Joe Biden and his counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Both leaders are keen to confront what they see as China's aggressive actions in the South China Sea and near Taiwan.

Raimondo said he is often asked if the US is asking countries in the Indo-Pacific to choose between China and the US.

“Of course not – but we want the US to be the economic partner of choice,” Raimondo said. “To achieve that, we have to continue to be exposed in the country, with money, with cooperation.”


He traveled to China in August

There he met with Chinese leaders and spoke about the willingness of American companies to do business in China.

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The US delegation to the Philippines includes executives from 22 companies, including United Airlines, Alphabet's Google, Black & Veitch, Visa, Echostar/DISH, United Parcel Service (UPS), Boston Consulting Group, KKR Asia Pacific, Bechtel, FedEx, MasterCard. Microsoft, according to the White House.

United announced last week that it will offer new flights from Tokyo-Narita to Cebu, Philippines starting July 31. Raimondo said new US investments in the Philippines will be announced this week and that this week's talks will lay the groundwork for future business investments.

Raimondo will focus on manufacturing, supply chain resilience, artificial intelligence and clean technology during his visit to Thailand. In Bangkok, Raimondo will attend a hybrid meeting of the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Ministerial Council with IPEF partners following the November meetings. (Reporting by David Shepherdson; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)