In a nutshell, here is the essence of the U.S Vice President Mike Pence’s 3 nation tour of Asia.
In a strategic development in U.S.-Japan relations, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is set to meet Taro Aso, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister today and kick off talks that are likely to usher in U.S. made products in Japan and in turn attract Japanese infrastructure investments in the United States.
As a precursor to those discussion, Pence will have a working lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their talks are likely to revolve around security issues in the Korean peninsula. They after all have a common enemy – China.
Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Commerce Secretary is likely to join them for lunch. He subscribes to a harder line on trade, than Pence, and is in Tokyo to talk with Japan’s minister of trade, Hiroshige Seko.
Incidentally, Tokyo is the second stop on Pence’s 10-day itinerary of Asia which is aimed to boost U.S. trade in the region despite the fact that Trump has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
“We thought it was important, particularly post-withdrawal (from) TPP, to let the region know that we haven’t forgotten about them,” said the White House’s economic policy adviser, on the condition of anonymity, who is also traveling with Pence.
The U.S. and Japan are likely to have top level talks revolving around principles and processes with detailed discussions likely to be taken up by lower level officials from both countries.
The talks will set broad framework on two-way economic cooperation and is unlikely to set any detail in the first round itself.
The White House adviser disclosed that although the talks would not prescribe a free-trade deal they however might eventually lead to such negotiations.
“We ultimately want this to be about, how do we get more American products to Japan?” said the White House adviser.
Essentially the Trump administration hopes to attract foreign direct investment to the tune of $1 trillion in order to rebuild U.S. roads, bridges and other basic infrastructure.
In a nutshell this is the message Pence will take to upcoming stops in Jakarta and Sydney.
AT each stop Pence will meet business leaders to reassure them that trade with the United States is worth their while.
“Part of the trip is the very big symbolism of listening. We’re not pivoting away from the region,” said the White House’s adviser.