The strategically important Indo-Pacific region (the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea) has emerged as a key focus for the Trump Administration. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described the region as a “subject of great importance to American foreign policy”, “one of the greatest engines of the future global economy”, and a “big part of America’s international economic future”.
To this end, the Administration has outlined a ‘Free and Open’ Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy, signalling its strategic interest in deepening engagement in the region. This includes accelerating developmental partnerships in investment, security, market access and trade – a vision that has been echoed by other members of the ‘Quad’ (India, Japan and Australia). The strategy has been described as a move to balance China’s rising influence in the region, including its Belt and Road Initiative.
As part of the Asia House New Global Trade Order Series, Thomas R. Hardy, Acting Director of the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), will brief Asia House corporate members on the Agency’s work to advance the Trump Administration’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, through the promotion of open markets and international best practices with partners such as Japan, particularly to address infrastructure deficits in South and Southeast Asia. Hardy will also speak about USTDA’s efforts to connect businesses and unlock opportunities in the region.
The USTDA is the leading agency focusing on increasing US jobs and exports in developing markets across the globe, playing a key role in advancing the Trump Administration’s Indo-Pacific aspirations. Since 1981, the USTDA has been connecting the private sector to priority infrastructure projects in the region, including funding over 850 activities in 23 countries. Its current portfolio focuses on India, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Earlier in his career at USTDA, Hardy served as the Chief of Staff and as a Country Manager in the East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa regions. Prior to joining USTDA, he was an advisor to Commissioner Thelma Askey at the US International Trade Commission and a staff member of the Committee on Ways and Means in the US House of Representatives.
This lunchtime briefing is held exclusively for Asia House Corporate Members. For more information, please contact Aini.Abdullah@asiahouse.co.uk