SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Joe Biden made America’s case Thursday to national leaders and CEOs attending an Asia-Pacific summit that the United States is committed to high standards in trade and partnerships that support the entire Pacific region. Economies will benefit.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he declared.
Following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden also told business leaders that the US is “reducing risk and diversifying” but “not reducing isolation.” From Beijing. But he left no stone unturned in suggesting that the US and its friends in the Pacific region could offer a better option for business than China.
“It’s not everything, but it’s straightforward,” Biden said. “When it comes to maintaining a fair and level economic playing field and protecting our intellectual property, we have real differences with Beijing.”
Biden sought to send a clear message about American leadership as business leaders grapple with the risks of doing business amid wars in the Middle East and Europe and an economy still shaky after the pandemic. He also spent time Thursday telling Indo-Pacific leaders that the US is committed to boosting economic ties across the region.
Biden has been meeting world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and through his administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a grouping that includes most of the 21 APEC member economies and a few others, like India, which are among the largest countries in the world. Are not members of. stage. Biden later posed for a traditional “family photo” with other leaders of the group, which includes 21 economies.
Biden sought to highlight his administration’s efforts to strengthen ties with the region in his remarks to the CEOs. APEC members have invested $1.7 trillion in the US economy, supporting approximately 2.3 million American jobs. In return, US companies have invested approximately $1.4 trillion in APEC economies.
Later, during a conversation with APEC leaders at a working lunch, Biden talked about efforts funded by his Inflation Reduction Act to improve sustainability, climate change and clean energy infrastructure in the US.
“I encourage everyone at this table to take strong national action,” Biden said. “It will take all of us time to get over this moment.”
The US has not hosted an annual leaders’ summit since 2011 – which was started by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The group met virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The leaders gathered in Bangkok last year, but Biden did not attend the summit because his granddaughter was getting married, and he sent Vice President Kamala Harris in his place.
The annual leaders’ conference brings together heads of states and other top economic and diplomatic leaders. Biden told those gathered at a welcome party Wednesday evening — including Russia’s representative, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk — that today’s challenges were unlike those faced by previous APEC leaders.
Biden also sought to underline that he wanted to responsibly manage the United States’ strained relations with China, a day after he and Xi spoke for more than four hours at the bucolic Filoli estate outside San Francisco. Were sitting for.
“A stable relationship between the world’s two largest economies is good not only for the two economies but for the world,” Biden said. It’s good for everyone.”
Demonstrations in and around APEC continued on Thursday. Hours before leaders gathered at the Moscone Center for the summit, protesters calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war were detained by police after shutting down all traffic on a major commuter bridge leading to San Francisco. Got it.
After decades of doing business based on keeping prices low, accessing new markets, and maximizing profits, many companies are now finding themselves navigating a weakening global economy. The Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts are not helping matters.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of their supply chains. Climate change has intensified natural disasters that could lead to factory closures. The Israel-Hamas war and Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression have created new financial risks, and new technologies like artificial intelligence could change the way companies operate and displace workers.
Xi also met with US business leaders at a $2,000-a-plate dinner on Wednesday evening. It was a rare opportunity for business leaders to hear directly from the Chinese president as they sought clarification on Beijing’s expanded security rules that could deter foreign investment.
“China is pursuing high-quality growth and the United States is reviving its economy,” he said, according to an English-language translation. “There is great scope for our cooperation, and we are fully able to help each other succeed and achieve win-win results.”
Just a week after he indicated that China would send new giant pandas to the US, three pandas from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo were returned to China, much to the dismay of the Americans. There are only four pandas left in the United States, at the Atlanta Zoo.
Biden and Xi understand that the complex relationship between the two countries has major global implications. Their meeting at a Northern California estate on Wednesday was partly an effort to show the world that even though they are global economic competitors, the US and China are not conflict-seeking rivals.
With his characteristic optimism, Biden presented a vision of leaders who manage the competition “responsibly,” adding, “That’s what the United States wants and what we intend to do.”
However, Xi was more pessimistic about the state of the global economy post-pandemic. China’s economy remains in recession, with prices falling due to weak demand from consumers and businesses.
“The global economy is improving, but its pace remains sluggish,” Xi said. “Industrial and supply chains are still at risk of disruption, and protectionism is on the rise. These are all serious problems.”
White House officials said Biden was boosted by signs that the US economy is in stronger shape than China and that the US is building stronger alliances across the Pacific.
Part of this is through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which was announced during his visit to Tokyo in May 2022. This comes six years after the US unilaterally withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that was signed by 12 countries.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the signing of the agreements in IPEF shows the US’s commitment to other Asian countries. The overarching theme of the APEC meeting, he said, was that “the United States is a durable, lasting, reliable partner for the countries in the region.”
The new framework has four key pillars: supply chain, climate, anti-corruption and trade. There will be no official trade deals to announce — the “framework” label allows Biden to bypass Congress on any agreements reached with the 13 countries. Raimondo told a meeting of ministers on Tuesday that work on three of the four pillars has been completed.
While US allies are still considering a comprehensive trade deal with Washington, Biden administration officials are emphasizing that IPEF helped the US and partners take action far more quickly than traditional trade deals Is.
“Most trade negotiations take years to complete,” said Mike Pyle, Biden’s deputy national security adviser for international economics. “The issues that are at the forefront of the global economic conversation, issues like supply chains, clean energy, good government – we’ve made agreements around them in just 18 months, with a whole bunch of IPEF partners.”
Associated Press writers Josh Boak in Washington and Jenny Haar and Didi Tang in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Colleen Long and Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press