Pompeo to announce US economic initiatives in "Indo-Pacific"

State Pompeo hosts religious freedom summit at the State Department in Washington

"Australia, the United States and Japan are all significant investors in the Indo Pacific region, we have made a decision to form a trilateral partnership so that we can increase our investment into infrastructure, building connectivity, driving economic growth and meeting development challenges", Ms Bishop told reporters in Dili.

The new investment includes $25 million to promote digital connectivity, $50 million for energy projects, and $30 million for infrastructure.

"Make no mistake about it", Pompeo, standing alongside Mattis, Bishop and Payne at AUSMIN, said. The Belt and Road is, for the moment, China's way of doing things.

His comments come amid projections of massive growth potential for the Indo-Pacific - a region that stretches from India's west coast and through Southeast Asia. Within this expanse, China has been actively increasing its infrastructure loans to countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives. He emphasized America's commitment to the region, and the American definition of "freedom" and "openness", implicitly drawing a contrast to China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative. Pompeo acknowledged as much, emphasizing the crucial role that private investment has to play at a far greater level than government funding.

"Our core message... is that a free and open Indo-Pacific is good for the region, it is good for America and it is good for business", he told journalists.

Ray Washburne, president of the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation, also said the agency has $4 billion invested in the region and hopes to double that figure "in the next few years".

Should this pass, the United States would be better enabled to underwrite riskier private sector investments in developing countries - something long overdue.

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"The US government's Indo-Pacific initiatives will be shaped by these values and buttressed by partnerships with American companies". It's here that a more fully-drawn-out diplomatic strategy should be developed.

"Access Asia" is a series of 25 trade promotion outreach events in cities across the USA that is sequential, multi-year, data and opportunity driven, and optimises United States government resources, it said. Take, for instance, the partnership between Japan and India on connectivity from Africa to Asia, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor initiative.

The ten countries of the ASEAN community are the fastest-growing economic zone in the world and are major buyers of USA products.

It will also launch a network to develop infrastructure. "All would be making announcements or sharing key investment opportunities that they are advancing in the Indo-Pacific region", Biswal said. Our Indo-Pacific vision excludes no nation.

Analysts said it was hard to see the US effort generating much excitement in the region, especially given Trump's habit of undercutting his policy makers on issues ranging from trade to dealings with North Korea.

He launched new initiatives to accelerate United States private investment and support job-creating U.S. export opportunities in the areas of digital economy, infrastructure, and energy.

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