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Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific strategy served American interests well, claims White House

Washington: The Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy, one of the signature foreign policy initiatives of the Barack Obama administration, has served US interests well, the White House has said.

"The president believes that the interest of the United States were well served by our policy of rebalancing our attention to Asia," said White House press secretary Josh Earnest at his daily news conference.

File image. AP

File image. AP

"There certainly is more that can and should be done, but we'll have to see what the incoming administration chooses to do," he said, in response to a question.

Earnest said that US interests were advanced in important ways with the commitment of this administration to strengthening its alliances in Asia-Pacific and looking for ways to expand economic opportunities for the American people in the region.

"This administration completed the trade agreement with the Republic of Korea, something that deepens our ties with our ally country. It also expands economic opportunities for American businesses that are looking to get access to South Korean markets," he added.

"Now, what we advocated and what President Obama dedicated a significant portion of his presidency to doing, was negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership," the White House press secretary said.

This, he said, was a trade agreement with 11 other countries where the US would be able to work effectively to level the playing field and impose higher and enforceable labour, environmental, and human rights standards, besides protection for things like intellectual property that would give US businesses access to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The benefits of the policy included slashing 18,000 taxes that other countries impose on American goods and services, he said.

"But unfortunately, Congress did not take action on the agreement that the Obama administration negotiated, and that's unfortunate because early indications are that other countries are prepared to move forward without the United States," he rued.

"That's going to put US businesses and economy at a disadvantage. It means that other countries' products are going to be cheaper for some countries to import, and that's gonna put US businesses at even greater disadvantage," Earnest said.

He said it is a difficult case for opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to make, that it would have had a negative impact on American economy.

"The fact is this would have fallen through on a number of the president's promises, including renegotiating NAFTA in a way that has positive benefits for the US economy, for American businesses and for American workers," Earnest said.

Updated Date: Jan 14, 2017 16:35 PM

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