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Nov 05, 2021 / 18:38

AmChams urge President Biden to join CPTPP

The US President is expected to announce his plan on joining the pact at the APEC meeting hosted by New Zealand next week.

AmChams from Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand, and Vietnam are calling on US President Joe Biden to begin the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The call is made before the US President heads to attend his first Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting, which will be hosted by New Zealand next week.

 Adam Sitkoff, Executive Director of AmCham Hanoi. Photo: VGP

Adam Sitkoff, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hanoi, told The Hanoi Times: "Just as AmChams were the first US business associations to call for the Obama Administration to join TPP as we saw the strategic and economic imperative to do so, AmChams call on the Biden administration to join the CPTPP, as the strategic and economic imperatives to do so are even greater now.”

As leaders of the US business community in key CPTPP countries, AmChams see first-hand how US companies, farmers, workers, and investors have been disadvantaged since the US pulled out of the TPP nearly five years ago, according to AmChams' statement.

They said the CPTPP remains the highest-standard multilateral agreement in existence, a result of being drafted when the US served as one of the lead negotiators. Even after the US withdrew from the agreement, the remaining countries kept the cornerstones of the agreement intact by including tough rules of origin, reducing tariffs, making supply chains more resilient, and agreeing on accession procedures for new candidates.

The longer the US remains on the sidelines and debates how to move forward on trade, the further it falls behind and cedes leadership in the region as the trade architecture continues to develop, such as with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) coming into force in January with six members of ASEAN joining Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand in approving the entry. 

“The more the US stands on the sidelines, the more US companies face competitive disadvantages on their exports to this fast-growing consumer market, and the more American workers pay for the products their families need,” AmChams noted.

During a visit to Singapore in August, Vice President Harris announced the US offer to host the APEC meetings in 2023. 

AmChams’ business associations, based in countries that have all hosted APECs, recognize this rare opportunity for the US to set the APEC agenda and build consensus on issues that affect US growth, exports, and jobs, as well as influence the region’s trade and sustainability agenda. The US cannot provide this leadership absent from the region’s most important trade agreement, according to AmChams.

“Each of our AmChams stands ready to work constructively with the US government to achieve and demonstrate the benefits joining the agreement will bring to US businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers by ensuring a level playing field, addressing key needs to operate in the digital economy and to conduct business sustainably,” the statement underlined.