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A Free and Open Indo-Pacific Ignites U.S. Business Opportunities and the American Workforce

May 13, 2019

Diane Farrell is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Trade Administration’s Office of Asia 

Last July at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Secretary Ross along with other senior Administration officials, reaffirmed the U.S. government economic efforts to advance the President’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.  The United States’ vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific is rooted in respect for sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade, transparent governance, and private sector-led economic growth. For the Indo-Pacific to thrive, the U.S. encourages countries to pursue open, transparent, and rules-based development policies. It also emphasizes the importance of investing in high-quality infrastructure projects that are affordable and sustainable over the long-run.  Finally, the U.S. is optimistic about the opportunities for U.S. companies to contribute to this vision by increasing their exports of high-quality, innovative, goods and services to markets throughout the region.

DAS Farrell

DAS Farrell joins the governments of Papua New Guinea and Fiji at the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting. Catalyzing U.S. commercial engagement in the Pacific Island Countries is an important part of advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

U.S. exporters have significant opportunities to explore in the vast and growing Indo-Pacific region which stretches from the west coast of India to the west coast of the United States. In 2018, U.S. exports of goods and services to the region totaled more than $476 billion. U.S. companies’ high-quality goods and services can address needs in these markets particularly in healthcare, energy, aerospace/defense, information and communication technology and infrastructure.

A free and open Indo-Pacific means fair and reciprocal access to these export opportunities for U.S. companies, which will help grow the U.S. economy and support good paying jobs in America. On average, U.S. firms that export see sales grow faster, more jobs created, and higher wages for employees than non-exporting firms. In 2018, the International Trade Administration’s work to ensure fair and reciprocal trade around the world enabled $104 billion in U.S. exports and $20 billion in inward investment supporting over 570,000 American jobs.

The International Trade Administration has been championing this Administration goal since July, by not only enforcing the principles of fair and reciprocal trade in the region, but also reinvigorating America’s entrepreneurial spirit in the Indo-Pacific through a sequenced set of data- and opportunity-driven programs: Access Asia, Discover Global Markets Indo-Pacific and Trade Winds Indo-Pacific.

Access Asia was launched last year and has reached over 1,000 U.S. Companies in more than 25 cities across the United States. It is a series of events across the U.S. that gives ready-to-export U.S. companies access to U.S. Commercial Service diplomats from Indo-Pacific markets who help them develop strategies to access immediate commercial opportunities in strategic sectors like healthcare, energy, aerospace/defense, and information and communication technology. Through Access Asia, we seek to  increase U.S. exports to the Indo-Pacific region and further the Administration’s emphasis on reducing the U.S. trade deficit.

 Discover Global Markets: Indo-Pacific took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 10-12, 2018, with a  focus on connecting U.S. companies with defense and aerospace business opportunities and developing stronger strategic ties in the region. More than 330 people from 36 states attended and over 700 one-on-one meetings were held between U.S. companies, U.S. Commercial Service Diplomats, foreign buyers, and large U.S. original equipment manufacturers.

Last week’s, Trade Winds Indo-Pacific Forum and Mission in India and Bangladesh provided U.S. exporters with the opportunity to further pursue business ventures that began in discussions occurring at Discover Global Markets Indo-Pacific and Access Asia events. Trade Winds is the U.S. government’s largest annual trade mission. This year’s mission featured U.S. Commercial Service diplomats from markets across the Indo-Pacific including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Finally, ITA encourages companies to embrace their entrepreneurial roots and explore new, developing markets. In partnership with the State Department, ITA now delivers its services in Papua New Guinea and Nepal. In partnership with Australia and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, ITA is hosting an event on the margins of the Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting to connect U.S. and Australian companies and Pacific Island Country leaders to discuss infrastructure opportunities and challenges.

ITA’s worldwide network of experts advances the President’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific by eliminating trade barriers, negotiating fair trade deals, ensuring compliance with trade laws and agreements, and expanding trade opportunities for U.S. businesses and investment opportunities for foreign companies. Working with our foreign partners on these activities will help catalyze private-sector led economic development for them and help the American economy grow.

For U.S. companies ready to start exploring, find your local International Trade Specialist at www.export.gov/locations to discuss opportunities you may have in the Indo-Pacific.  To learn more about ITA’s activities in the Indo-Pacific, visit our Indo-Pacific website.