Fresh off his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Joe Biden is now shifting his attention to addressing CEOs and engaging with leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. Biden aims to assure these leaders that the United States is committed to nurturing economic ties throughout the region, despite the challenges posed by world crises.
During a welcome reception, Biden highlighted the importance of connection, cooperation, collective action, and common purpose in addressing the global challenges that lie ahead. He will be courting world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, as well as through the administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which includes most APEC member economies and select others, such as India.
As part of his itinerary, President Biden will participate in the traditional “family photo” with APEC leaders, host a working lunch, and attend a fancy leaders dinner. This will mark the first time the United States is hosting the annual APEC summit since 2011, as the previous years were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, President Biden did not attend last year’s gathering in Bangkok, sending Vice President Kamala Harris instead, as he wanted to attend his granddaughter’s wedding.
At the welcome party, Biden emphasized that the challenges faced by today’s leaders are distinct from those faced by previous APEC leaders. Issues such as harnessing artificial intelligence’s potential, curbing carbon emissions, building resilient supply chains, and addressing natural disasters and pandemics were highlighted as priorities.
During his time in the Asia-Pacific region, President Biden will also engage with CEOs who are exploring new technologies and strategies for business resilience. Many companies have recently realized the vulnerability of the global economy, with issues like the Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts, supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, and the potential impact of artificial intelligence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping also met with American business leaders at a dinner, where he emphasized China’s pursuit of high-quality development and its willingness to cooperate with the United States. Additionally, he hinted at China’s intention to send new pandas to the U.S., despite the recent return of three pandas to China from the Smithsonian National Zoo.
Overall, the meeting between Biden and Xi aimed to demonstrate that while the U.S. and China are economic competitors, they are not full-fledged rivals and can manage their competition responsibly. The White House officials believe that the U.S. economy is in a stronger position than China’s and that the U.S. is actively building stronger alliances in the Pacific region.
As part of these alliances, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) was announced during Biden’s visit to Tokyo in May 2022. This framework focuses on four major pillars: supply chains, climate, anti-corruption, and trade. While no official trade deals will be announced during the APEC summit, the use of the “framework” label allows Biden to bypass Congress on any agreements reached with the 13 participating countries.