Obama Highlights Pacific Rim
Speaking in his home state of Hawaii, President Obama is beginning to make the rounds in the Pacific stressing the importance of the region not just for America but for the world economy, as well. The booming growth that is happening in Asia is important for all the world now, as developed nations struggle with budget deficits and debt issues. With no end in sight to the current economic black cloud that hangs over the U.S. and Eastern Europe, sights are set on keeping the blistering economies of Asia on track.
President Barack Obama on Sunday tied the hopes of a faster American economic recovery to the booming Pacific Rim region, saying “we’re not going to be able to put our folks back to work” unless the Asia-Pacific region is successful as an engine for the world.
“We consider it a top priority,” Obama said of the region where his administration is pouring in time and political capital to expand exports and business ties.
Obama used his moment to signal to business executives and Asian leaders that the United States has shifted from a post-Sept. 11 war focus to re-engagement all across the Pacific.
“We represent close to 3 billion people, from different continents and cultures,” Obama told his APEC partners on Saturday. “Our citizens have sent us here with a common task: to bring our economies closer together, to cooperate, to create jobs and prosperity that our people deserve so that they can provide for their families.”
Obama did announce the broad outlines of an agreement to create a trans-Pacific trade zone encompassing the United States and eight other nations. The eight countries joining the U.S. in the zone would be Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Obama also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda about Japan’s interest in joining the trade bloc.
Obama is seeking, while in Hawaii at the APEC meeting, to position the United States as a key player among economies that already account for 44 percent of world trade, a figure the administration believes will grow.
For businesses, Obama said, “this is where the action’s going to be.” On the Pacific trade pact, the president said details must still be worked out, but he said the goal was to complete the deal by next year.
The Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a group of 21 member nations, headquartered in Singapore. The goal of the group is to promote free trade in the Asia Pacific Region. APEC is a consortium of member economies, classified as such because Hong Kong and Taiwan are both members yet viewed by China as special territories, that helps foster economic growth between all the members in the Pacific region.
Their most recent accomplishment has been to reduce the cost of doing business in the region. A goal of a 25% decrease in the cost of doing business was set for 2015. A recent review of the progress showed they are n target to hit a 5% reduction by the end of 2011.
APEC’s improvement in the five areas of starting a business, getting credit, enforcing contracts, trading across borders and dealing with permits between 2009 and 2010 was 2.8%, exceeding a pro rata benchmark of 2.5%, the assessment said.
New Business Equals New Wealth
As more and more businesses find opening and operating them a financially rewarding experience, trade will continue to grow in the region, thus benefiting the global economy as well. The Asia-Pacific Region is the key area for global growth and while Africa is far behind, some countries there are starting to see hockey stick chart growth that will help propel them into the next era as an attractive opportunity for investment, both foreign and domestic.