US regional economic policy in the Indo-Pacific

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Abstract

US economic policy in the Indo-Pacific has undergone significant reconfiguration throughout the past two decades. The George W. Bush administration undertook a profound transformation of US–India relations; under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the plurilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) sought to integrate countries from the Americas, Asia and Oceania into a multicontinental trade bloc. Conversely, the Trump administration withdrew from the TPP, launched a tariff war against China, and reconstructed bilateral trade agreements with its allies Japan and South Korea. In 2021, the Biden administration presaged a cautious return to multilateralism. The unpredictability of US regional economic policy has compelled countries in the region to finalize alternative trade arrangements, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Washington’s seismic shift away from plurilateralism to aggressive bilateralism in trade policy under the Trump administration abandoned regionalism, leaving the US isolated from CPTPP, while China became the largest economic actor in the RCEP. By prioritizing its trade conflict with Beijing, Washington eschewed a comprehensive ‘whole-of-Asia’ strategy under Trump. The Biden administration’s challenge is to address the economic imbalance with China, while forging a free and open Indo-Pacific economy with its allies and partners.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of US Foreign Policy in the Indo-Pacific
EditorsOliver Turner, Nicola Nymalm, Wali Aslam
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter27
Pages386-401
Number of pages16
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781003018322
ISBN (Print)9780367863142, 9781032396538
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Economoc regionalism
  • Regional trade agreements
  • Free trade areas
  • Free trade agreements
  • Tariffs
  • Protectionism
  • US trade policy
  • US foreign policy
  • US foreign economic policy
  • Biden administration
  • Trump administration
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Regional Economic Cooperation Partnership
  • ASEAN
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • China
  • India

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