US commits to invest, trade in Asia
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — The US remains committed to investing and trading, as well as entering into deals with Asia, a high ranking US official said.

With the ongoing trade war between the US and China affecting business confidence globally, the US official said reaching a Phase 1 trade deal between the two countries would help put an end to the uncertainties.

In a teleconference with journalists, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Jr. said the US remains committed in the Asian region.

While the US’ exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which has been interpreted by some as a sign of its losing interest in the region, Ross said the withdrawal simply meant such was not seen helpful to the country.

Since the withdrawal from the TPP, he said the US has entered into a new trade deal with Japan, and renegotiated its free trade agreement with South Korea.

“And we are actively working on more transactions and more agreements around in the region. So, we are here to stay,” he said.

Asia is a major trading partner for the US, as well as destination for investments.

“US is the largest investor in the region...We are seven times the investment of any other country. We are here permanently. We will be continuing to invest. We will be continuing to have more bilateral trade,” he said.

When it comes to the impact of the ongoing discussions between the US and China on trade, the US is hopeful the conclusion of Phase 1 negotiations would have a positive impact.

“We are quite optimistic we could get this ready in time for the multinational meetings in Chile on the 13th of November. Due to local problems in Chile, that conference will not occur. So, we are seeking another location and once we find one, we’ll firm up a date and go forward. So, directionally, I’m reasonably optimistic that we can get something done,” Ross said.

He said completion of Phase 1 negotiations would reduce tensions between the two countries.

“It will facilitate day-to-day trade,” he said.

In addition, he said the completion of the first phase of talks is seen to help rebuild trust between the two countries.

This is necessary as the two countries advance to more sensitive negotiations covering topics such as intellectual property rights, technology transfer and equal market access.

With a lot of people worried about how long the trade war between the US and China would go on, Ross said a Phase 1 deal would go a long way in eliminating uncertainties.

“I think if we resolve Phase 1, that will calm people down a lot because they’ll see that the endpoint is hopefully, within sight,” he said.

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