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tv   CSIS Discussion on East Asia Summit  CSPAN  November 10, 2018 2:52am-4:10am EST

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declining local tribes. all those things are being undermined by the moment we are at an technological history. >> watch this weekend on book tv. >> at the 11th hour, the 11th day, the 11th month of the 11th day, the armistice to and the great war was signed. we are featuring programming to hundredththe anniversary -- commemorate the hundreds anniversary of the end of world war i. singapore hosts the east asian summit. we discuss president trump's decision not to attend.
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this is one hour and 15 minutes. >> let's go. >> welcome. >> please, i will transfer you, one minute. our distinguished colleagues. if we can just week a second. so i would like to just begin. i colin quinn. am the director for new media here at csis and i'll be moderating today's press briefing. thank you all for coming. i just wanted you a quick note for housekeeping. we will be transcribing this discussion, so if when you are asking your questions, if you want to identify itself, that will make it easier on you. we would then be sending that transcript later on today.
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let me introduce my colleagues will be speaking today in this order. to my left, matthew goodman, senior vice president and our simon chair political economy, also senior vice chair for asian economics and he was accorded -- accord nader for the apec and east asia summit including the g-8 and g20 in the obama white house. to his left is amy seawright senior advisor and director in , southeast asia program at csis. bill reinsch, senior advisor and chair in international business. wadwani chair in u.s. india policy state. and chris johnson senior advisor chair and china says at csis and -- studies. joining us on the phone is victor cha, a senior advisor and korea chair at csis. we will all be hearing from them today. >> thanks. vice president pence heads off
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this weekend to asia for the l set of summits. that is the organizing principle of the trip, he's going to the east asia summit, the u.s.asean summit and the apec, asia pacific coordination leaders meeting. you will be in the region for about a week. this is something president normally does but president trump opted not to do this trip and to ask vice president pence to do the trip. i think to me the over arching theme here is that the vice president is going to face some skepticism from particularly allies and partners in the region. those are in three areas of
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skepticism. one is concerned about some of the statements and actions the top administration has taken, criticism of allies, skepticism about multilateral approaches like the things that are going to be done in these summits, new interest in china policy following vice president pence's speech in early october that was quite strong in tone particularly and southeast asia. there will be questions about that and concerns about that. and then the withdrawal from the transpacific partnership from the paris climate accord i think have raised questions in the region. of course the use of tariffs against allies as well as against china are a source of concern, and then there are certain questions about north korea policy that the vice president will encounter in places like japan for example, which has some different interests there. in addition to the shared interest about proliferation and missile development. i think there's some of the specific issues japan has questions about.
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that's one set of or one reason for the skepticism the vice president will have to address. the second reason for skepticism is the free and open indo-pacific strategy which was the headline that president trump announced last year on the same trip when he was in vietnam ad gave a speech at the pec ceo summit. this phrase free and open indo-pacific strategy which is now been fleshed out to some extent by other administration officials including secretary of state mike pompeo in a speech to use chained in late july. there are questions about the content of the free and open indo-pacific strategy. the headline resonates well in the region but the details are unclear at best and there are some concerns particularly on the economic and trade side where because of the withdrawal from tpp and its non-replacement by another credible regional trade strategy there are questions about that.
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i think it will see the vice president trying to address those things by fleshing out some of the points that were raised in the pompeo speech like digital connectivity which was a specific item that the secretary of state mentioned, infrastructure, energy. these are areas you should expect to see some discussion of by the vice president when he's there. the third reason for skepticism or questions is a fact it's the vice president and off the -- not the president. because as you probably heard us on this panel said before, in asia 80% of of life is showing up and they watch that stuff carefully, particularly in southeast asia. he's going to face those headwinds, but the other way to look at this is there's a real opportunity for the vice president to try to flesh out some of these points and convince folks that the approach, the united states is committed to the region, and the free and open indo-pacific does have content and that
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essentially the u.s. is there for allies and partners and so i think there's a big opportunity here but a lot of attention will be paid to this. let me just say one word about the japan stop because mike green couldn't be here today. he asked me to wear a kilt to represent him, but minds of the cleaners. i think mike would say the purpose of the japan stop is to reassure japan of the u.s. commitment to the alliance and so the alliance will be central there. there will be an interest in discussing for the vice president to discuss with prime minister abe north korea, china, regional security issues, maritime security issues. i don't think there's going to be much on trade. the vice president has been reluctant to engage even in the formal process that was established between him and the finance minister and deputy prime minister. because we are in the cooling
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off time on the bilateral trade agreements, there probably isn't going to be too much discussion of trade. one other highlight of the stop that's interesting is the vice president requested and got a joint press availability with be which ister a unusual thing because it's not a protocol match but the japanese gave the vice president that, so that's probably the public thing to watch on the japan stop. with that, i will pass it on down the line and sort of roughly chronological order so amy. >> so from japan, vice presidential travel to singapore for two of the major asean asia summits. the first will be a u.s. asian summit where meeting with ultimate of the association of southeast asian nations and the major event is the east asia summit, which brings together the 10 asean members, as well as
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eight other countries, china, japan, south korea, australia, new zealand, india and the united states and russia. singapore has been chair of asean this year, so it's hosting the east asia summit and their then to big priorities for asean this year. a lot of the news coming out of these meetings is going to be focused on these two issues that asean is going to meet as a grouping before the singapore contains the east asia summit. they'll focus on the south china sea issues. their discussion with china over negotiating a draft code of conduct. there's been some modest progress towards negotiating a draft. it still has a long way to go. there's some major disagreements. but this is something asean has been pushing for for over two decades. and china has been very reluctant to move forward. some momentum began to build and
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-- in 2016 after the arbitral tribunal made an award that was very favorable to philippines and it sort of brought china back to the table. so there's been a lot of work by singapore to try to push this code of conduct closer to conclusion. so there's now a single draft text that would be the basis for further negotiations that was announced during the asean china summit in august. and so, there will be some talk about that but we don't expect any further announcements and as i say, it's still a ways off. for the united states, the main concern is that the text does not, that the draft code of conduct that emerges does not impinge on the rights of third parties. the united states has been very supportive of the idea of asean in china concluding a a code of conduct, but it has strongly suggested that a code of conduct should be binding to all parties. the concern now is there's language inserted by china according to reports that would seek to limit u.s. presence in
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naval exercises and energy exploration without the consent of all parties which would include, of course, china. that's unlikely to make it into final draft, but it's quite possible vice president pence will make some messaging around that. the second big issue is on the trade front. of course, against the backdrop of having six of the tpp 11, the conferences and progressive transpacific partnership, newly renamed, now have ratified that agreement as of now it is slated to come on board by the end of issue december 30. there's been a lot of focus also against the backdrop of inserted that u.s. trade policy and the growing tariff skirmish between the united states and china. there's been a little bit more political will to try to push forward the broad regional trade agreement, called the regional coverage of economic partnership , which includes all of the asean countries plus sixth
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additional countries, australia, new zealand, china, japan, south korea, and india. so basically, all of east asia summit countries minus the united states and russia. singapore has tried hard to use its chairmanship to push this agreement towards a substantial conclusion. india has been holed up all along really reluctant to get significant concessions in particular because next year is an election year for prime minister modi and there's been disagreements, particularly with india, but even with some of the members about the level of ambition for tariff liberalization and other trade rules. it looks like they will not get quite the conclusion they want to be able to announce at this meeting and it needs this trade agreement probably drag on into next year and likely beyond. but there would be a lot of discussion about that, as well. as matt said, vice president pence will be giving a speech at his next stop at apec.
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and in his engagements with his asean unterparts and other bilateral meetings that he'll have at the east asia summit and his intervention at the east asia summit, i think the countries in the region will be looking for a reassuring message that gives a little more detail about with free and open indo-pacific means for the u.s. commitment and vision for the region. there's some concern about u.s. china policy, the growing intensification of use china -- u.s.-china strategic rivalry. on the on the one hand, countries appreciate atrong u.s. presence, security strategic presence in the region to balance against overly assertive behavior from china. but they also are quite concerned about the prospect that tensions might really escalate into something more serious. the recent close encounter of u.s. navy destroyed with the chinese naval vessel caused a lot of concern in the region about tensions rising in the south china sea.
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and countries, most importantly, don't want to feel like they are forced to choose between partnership with the united states and partnership with china. i think it's an opportunity for vice president pence to give a reassuring message along those lines that the free and open pacific come free and open indo-pacific is a stretch about maintaining an open, inclusive architecture that is supportive to everyone. >> well, my task is to talk a little bit about aipac and trade, and i don't have much to say. expectations are low, and they probably won't be fulfilled anyway, so -- [laughing] i can be brief. >> it's friday, everybody. [laughing] >> some of the important elements have already been mentioned, better than i could do.
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the vice presidents role has been without one. he is a major speech at the ceo summit, which is parallel to the leaders summit and he will try to do exactly what matt and amy said which is try to reassure people about the continued u.s. commitment to the region. that ends up being one of these east asia summit words versus deeds. as matt pointed out, the president pulled out of tpp his third day in office and probably more important has not really replace it with anything material. they replaced it with the name of a strategy, but they haven't put any meat on those particular bones. so i think he'll probably say the right things, and try to provide some resurgence. in that sense, i suspect a different company one the second when he spoke at the hudson institute several weeks ago. whether the other countries will
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be reassured or not i think is less clear because the united states position on the ground at least on the economic front continues to suggest lack of a strategy. so, we'll see how that plays out. the conference itself, the theme is harnessing inclusive opportunities come embracing the digital future, apec strength over the years has been the promotion of regional integration largely through the development of what might, by consensus of what might be characterized as best practices in the select areas. these take a long time. it's a little easier than trade negotiations because they are best practices and goals and principles rather than enforceable outcomes. but even there, they take a long time and in the digital space are likely to take a long time because it's clear already that a number of the participants, particularly china and the united states, have very
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different views of how the internet should operate and how the internet should be governed. and i think you'll probably see some reflection of that in the discussions at apec. one of the things that apec is -- has done in the past, which i hope to be able to advance at the summit and also next year in chile, is their cbp are cross-border privacy rules which are basically a construct for trying to encourage companies to adopt consistent and harmonize privacy rules. this had made some inroads. countries are signing up to this . and to the extent the summit can that exercise, both this time round and in future, choose that will be a good thing. it's not really compatible with the chinese approach to the internet in particular although apec all the members have subscribed to this in the past. so where this goes will be
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interesting. i don't expect a lot of excitement, but to the extent that they can make steps in this direction of furthering the utility of this would be a good thing. in addition, there's been some talk they will be able to put out, that is published, someone -- something they been working on which is something matt has alerted me to. i've had to try to forget information about it, services trade restricted index. this is not unique. the oecd did this, the wto secretary did this. the world bank has done this. these are exercises that are attempt to identify trade restrictive practices in the interest of greater transparency and in the interest of hopefully eventually leading to negotiations in various fora that will tend attempt to put -- that will attempt to put some limits on the practices. aipac is doing
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this is good. if they can get agreement to put it up publicly that would be even better. there's a long way from that to actually accomplish something in terms of eliminating some of these practices, but i think what apec has been good at over the years is successions of small steps that eventually to something,ly lead to and i think this would be a good example of that. you'll also see the standard rhetoric that comes out of every one of these things about regional integration as importance of the free trade agreement for the asia-pacific. this has been a goal for 20 years at least. i suspect, i rather think we're not much closer now than we were in the beginning. i think it's useful that they continue to restate it and continued to maintain a commitment to it. even though the steps towards actually achieving it remain fairly far away and even though the main focus now in the trade area is elsewhere, the of the -- via the negotiation of our
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stuff, as amy mentioned, and that question of turning the cb tpp into an actual operating agreement. it's one of things that overlays this whole exercise. it will go into effect now december 30, having been ratified the requisite six nations, and by then i think there will be one or two more. and i think from an american standpoint to the extent that that is deeper than our signs of income to the extent it will become operational and a viable entity, regional trade agreement in the asia-pacific area, even without us, is a good thing and hopefully we something that we will come back to at a later date. so, i think that is the landscape. don't expect too much. i don't expect anything terrible
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. and that may be the best we can hope for. >> thank you, bill. as you can understand, it's hard to get everyone in the room at the same time and so with -- so we have one of our colleagues on the phone, victor cha, who is running tight on time, so victor, if you could join us and say your piece. >> sure, colin. thanks. so on korea, there is no stop in korea on the way to apec, but vice president pence will meet the south korean leader there. in the case of korea, they have had just come off your in washington, the annual security consultant meeting so i imagine that there will be reformations -- re-affirmations of some of the decisions reached there on suspension of exercises, on delineating conditions and procedures for transition.
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the one piece that still isn't resolved is a special measures agreement which is the burden sharing agreement between the cautionary agreement between united states and south korea for u.s. military forces in korea. this is an unusually difficult negotiation. this happens every four or five years. this one is unusually difficult because i think basically the president wants korea to pay for everything as opposed to something that's roughly a 50-50 split in the past agreements. but, of course, the main topic of discussion because it's only topic of discussion when it comes to korea these days is north korea. the trip by secretary pompeo to north korea -- to meet with kim jong cho in york was canceled.
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to be clear, that cancellation is because of logistics or because of substance, if it's logistics is logistics but if it's substance, my guess is we really are approaching the point where the rubber has to hit the road on both sides. for the north korean side, it means actually putting some facilities on the table for declaration and inspection by iaea inspectors on the ground . side, it's thes. north korean demand to lift sanctions if north korea is going to take those sorts of actions. what's been, i think of discussion, has been a satellite, the main satellite launch facility, a nuclear test site and, of course, the old young gun nuclear complex.
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i think the midterm elections actually may be a good thing for korea policy in the sense that there will be many more demands of the administration for transparency with regard to come very close and high-level negotiations that have been really only within a small circle, not people on the hill have been briefed about this at all. so i imagine that will be many more calls for the administration both an open or closed sessions to come and brief more on the policy. and there will be more scrutiny of any agreements that are reached between the administration and the north koreans on things like verification, inspections pixel -- inspections. in a sense, the midterms are actually a good check against ensuring that donald trump doesn't take a bad deal with north korea. but my understand is they're still uncommon for a second trump-kim summit, sometime in the early in the new year. it's not clear if there would be a fourth kim moved summit --
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kim-moon summit before the end of this year, but as donald trump says, it's not to worry because now we are plenty of time when it comes to north korea. there's no real rush for some reason. and we'll have to wait to see when this pompeo kim jong chill meeting gets scheduled. i'll just leave it at that. >> thanks, victor. if you can hang out, that'd be great, but i know you've got time commitments. back in the room, rick, please take is what. >> india is only barely relevant to this conversation. they're, of course, primers a motive will be there for the east asia summit but they're not a member of apex will focus mostly on relations these but not so much on the apec meeting itself.
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modi has six months left in office at fort half years in office. we had some idea on his broad economic and security approaches and what that means for the relationships across asia. on economic, you've got a bit of a two track train, very pro-investment. the most pro-investment prime minister think we've ever seen from india and using dramatic rise in the business rankings , lifting fbi restrictions, domestic reforms to make it easier to do business there. but then there's quite a bit with what you see in terms of the approach to trade policy. as reluctant as india has been on trade liberalization over the years, prime minister modi's is probably less interest in trade integration that is most recent predecessors did you see an increase in customs duties, you've seen in the air walking away from existing and pending trade agreements. they pointed out they're the slowest wheel of the bunch in terms of moving that forward and i think in agreement that has china at the table, india would be very reluctant to conclude because it's a primary driver policymaking entity right now is this massive trade deficit in half with china. i just don't see a robust
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movement that includes india and china. take that however you want. i think ultimately india gets expelled. they can have a deal nobody agrees to. i think it is the approach of trade and investment. on security, i think engaging in the rhetoric with east asia. you see the practice with japan. deprives japan of strength and you see interesting examples where with vietnam, with indonesia, there are a little bit of sparks there, as well, but nothing fairly substantive but some small parts in terms of deepening security partnerships with other members in east asia. but nothing terribly robust, so in practice, the government will talk about these policies but intangible ways of measuring it, it comes up pretty lacking.
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i suspect that as modi talks about wishes, desires, delivers remarks, probably will be similar to what we heard the speech at shangri-la earlier this year. centrality, free and open partnership for all, similar themes there. i'm going to be watching more closely the bilateral that moti has with vice president pence. right now, the bilateral relationship has real headlands and choppy waters. the relationship between the us and india has been strengthening and we had our inaugural 2+2 dialogue with the secretary and defense and state travel to india two months ago and came up with a number of important substantive agreements. that's well and good. but still, most of it is technology sharing, practice, things like that. we don't have to operationally much happening yet but the trade relationship with india has taken a downturn in the last eight months or so.
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the united states is threatening to revoke gsp benefits because of some anti-trade measures india has taken. india's looking at counter trade tariffs after the 232 steel tariffs the u.s. imposed. india is a relatively large steel exporter. india was added to the treasury departments watchlist and the treasuries indicated they may be taken off before too long. there's a variety of problem issues that have arisen in both sides. the u.s. is also talking about changing visa regulations, which could impair their regulations because india is the number one place high tech workers come from. so choppy waters on the trade front and so far the good things on the security front have remained in the silo and fairly protected but you don't know how long back and last. so the bilateral will be interesting because it looks like our trade later are supposed to have a meeting last month or this month, that's good
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getting postponed and delayed so this is one more opportunity to see if we can hold off on any dramatic actions to impair trade relationships while we tried to figure out small steps to resolve it. so i'll leave it at that and over to chris. you, rick.hank it's often unusual when we have these press briefings for the china issued to come up last but i think it's appropriate in this in some ways, as monty python would say, china is not appearing in this film and at this meeting and that makes sense because president trump is not going, president xi will be going and there's no way he's going to meet with vice president pence and all the action would be on the g20 meeting coming up in argentina, so that's what i've been asked to focus on. i suspect, however, that there will be some side effects from vice president pence's trip in the region.
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it's striking that the fact sheet the white house put out today indicated one of the main messages the vice president will be highlighting is that efforts at authoritarianism, aggression and disregard for other nations sovereignty in the region will be opposed firmly by the united states. i don't think he's talking about indonesia, that's my guess. he's talking about china. and i raise that because so much tension on the trade conflict, sometimes we forget there's a pretty serious deterioration in the strategic relationship going on, as well, and i think this is likely to fuel further the greater injection of strategic instability into the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world. so i think that's something that then becomes a real focus for when president trump and president xi sit down with each other in argentina as much as the focus will be on trade and so, to look at the dynamics there, where did this strategic instability come from? primarily the
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instability comes from a series of actions from the administration and most notably the vice president's speech that he delivered here not long ago, and particularly, the key line in there where indicates that taiwan by choosing democracy has made the right choice, complicit in that is that china has made the wrong choice and that its authoritarian system of government is illegitimate. that is a very serious thing for the united states to be saying at the vice presidential level and it's causing alarm bells to go off in senior leadership circles in beijing. so i find it striking that today we are having around the diplomatic security dialogue between the u.s. and china. it's quite striking to me that the chinese approach to how to manage the conversation is to have that meeting first before any further trade discussions. that tells me that the disorder in the strategic, the broader overall critique relationship is of much greater concern to the politburo and the tit-for-tat elements of the trade war.
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and so that, i think, is very noteworthy administration continues to understand that brass better than it does. headed? might we be strategic issues probably will come up in the bilateral between trump and xi, but we rarely if ever see president trump make any mention of the strategic issues. he doesn't refer to his own national security trash strategy, doesn't talk about china as a competitor practicing predatory economics, talks about how they're ripping us off but he doesn't seem to address those elements of dimensions of the relationship too much. i think that that's in part this idea that he has a unique relationship with president xi, a friendship and he trying to maintain and the rest of the administration can sort of make a lot of these noises but he doesn't do that. party's real focus is the trade issue and how to manage that with china.
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so the real question i suppose is will we make a deal of some sort at this meeting in argentina? the first question is to understand as the united states wants to make a deal and that's a very hard question to sort out. i think we're seeing right now , kicked off by the president's tweet last week about his conversation with president xi, there's another round of what i call inside the ministration gymnastics occurring, you know the players, we had secretary nguyen, mister kudlow and a few others lined up on one side sort of advocating for some deal. and that's her life kaiser, mr. navarro has chaired earlier today. and others opposing but that -- the bad deal, sort of like what victor was saying on north korea. so it's going to come down to president trump. and then there's the question that no one seems to be asking , which is does president xi want a deal?
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there's an assumption that chinese you want some sort of deal. i think we have to acknowledge the possibility that mediate don't, or at least not under these conditions. if you look at these comments president xi has been making, domestically about self-reliance, authority and technology, these sort of things, it's not just pure propaganda at some level that he believes that. unless the conditions are right , his point of view, i'm not sure you want to deal so that leaves us in a position where the best we can hope for is what you might call a framework agreement to emerge. and what do i mean by that? i think it's a decision by both sides that let's bring the temperature down a little bit, particularly on the strategic side, but also the trade side by freezing existing tariffs in place, perhaps rolling back some if the chinese do some market access opening here pretty done quick because we're running out of time before the meeting and the decision by the residents at
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-- the presidents at their level to empower their respective appropriate people to start off what would be a cop and prolonged negotiations because there's a lot of sit sure it -- serious issues on the table. i like to stop there. >> thanks. i'd like to turn to your questions. we also have some of your colleagues on the phone and i'll be coming to you as well. >> thank you. i want to follow up a couple questions on china. first, since the midterm election just finished, so do you expect any change in policy from the administration towards china, like the trade policy, will the current policy continue question -- continue? and also, what is the strategic security dialogue between the us and china, do you expect anything can come out of it?
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anything solid out of it? thank you. >> great, thank you. on the midterms, there was a lot of perception i think in china earlier on that perhaps if the democrats had a big win and the house changed hands and maybe the senate as well, perhaps president trump would be wounded somehow or that there might be a lessening of pressure. but my impression is the closer we got to the election the less and less of a believe that. and a lot of americans told them look, this is not the case, and i think what we're seeing here in d.c. and i think it's important to emphasize in washington, if you visit other parts, you don't see this dynamic is a fundamental ground shift in the way that people think about china and so the democrats in a lot of cases now found a lot like their administration opposite numbers. and so, i don't think we're going to see a particular
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lessening and in fact, typically when the president loses the ability to move domestic legislation at home, they start to look at foreign policies for their achievements, so i would expect the president to be thinking more about that going forward and china is going to be a fundamental focus. on a diplomatic security dialogue, i think expectations are low. some degree back the meeting is occurring is a benefit. and that's primarily because of course we had a postponement of what was supposed to be around this dialogue in beijing about a month ago. so the mere fact they're sitting down to have this more strategic discussion is helpful. i don't think we should expect any tremendous initiatives. in some ways, the chinese main objective was to get counseling on an opportunity to meet with the president. it doesn't look like that will happen. so that's probably going to not be well received in beijing.
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>> thank you. peter nicholas, wall street journal. to elaborate on something earlier, will this be perceived as a snub on the part of some of the nations at the summit and is there anything by president can say or do try to make up for this? >> i think there's two schools of thought about vice president going into the president, one is that it's not a big deal. it happened before. we've attended summits. they said carried to the two summits, usually these were last any cancellation because of the method crises or some kind of crisis the fact that from announced this far in advance is different but no big deal. another part of that argument is these meetings are not all that critically important. it's not like a big outcome emerged from the discussions on the ground. they're very scripted, kind of
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tedious usually, so most presidents don't particularly enjoy sitting in them. and the third aspect is looking at president trumps recent behavior in various moments from the g7 summit, some people think it's better for the vice president to go. less disruptive, perhaps less risky in terms of those kind of dynamics. i think our view, certainly my view, is that it really does matter. that at a time when the administration is trying to put specifiche end of the -- the end of pacific as a premier tricky vision and us foreign policy and trying to make a case that this is a region of rate strategic importance to the administration, the fact that president trump will be there will be perceived i don't know as much of a snub, but that the united states is not estimated to the region as other countries because all the other leaders will be there. the only other exception being
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president putin. russia is not as important to many of these countries as the united states is, having the president show up. so i think having the president not show up will send a message . it will undercut the seriousness with which countries in the region will take us long-term commitment and according to the and a specific -- the end of pacific and the pacific that they have a spare amount of skepticism about. it could have the vice president show up, could he do something to overturn that? i suppose it became not only with a reassuring message, which i think you will have, but with a big basket, a hefty deliverable that tries to show the united states is really going to put skin in the game and really commit to some things. that would be one thing but we don't anticipate that because there are not deliverables on the table this -- other than what the secretary announced. there's not big security
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deliverables. there's a little more funding but there's no big security initiatives to announce so i think there's going to be some disappointment. >> can i add something on what amy just said? >> please go ahead, yes. that aipac is all about the picture. it's about that picture with all the leaders and the whatever funny garb they're wearing and the number of people in the room have been to these things and based on protocol, the vice president is going to be at the end in the back somewhere. while she's in paying -- while president xi will be standing next to the house or something. i've been part of the administrations where they haven't shown up to so i think amy's right. he'll be there and there are small things they'll be doing
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. but the overall message is going to be this disinterest is not a priority. that's not good given the broader context of what's happening in asia. >> can i follow up one question? so, under president obama we saw a pivot to asia, which got a lot of attention. how confusing must it be for some of these asian countries to see president trump not even showing up after the proclaimed he was going to make a pit to pacificis it to asia -- -- pivot to asia? >> i think it's fair to point out that president obama did miss one of these summits in 2013 in bern i and in asia but that was in the midst of a budget crisis and shutdown. he did send carrie and attend all the other summits on his watch. president bush had a perfect attendance record for apec during his eight years in office though i think the free and open info specific more than attempts to reassure the region of this region remains strategic priority for this administration
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, as will. and out of the gate, the administration did a reasonably good job in some ways of engaging saudi asian leaders. four visits to the white house by four southeast asian leaders in president trump's first year in office. vietnam, singapore, thailand and malaysia. followed by president trump's very long trip to the region to attend most of these summits. this year, it seems like that momentum has slacked off and has led to some questions in the the region. >> having tried to get multiple presidents to put on silly shirts, i totally agree with victor that that is a critical issue. that's not front and center but
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it's going to be noticed if we're not there but the other point i wanted to put is the point that chris made about it seems like there's a bit of a contradiction vice president and white house are signaling that they intend to come out with a reassuring and positive message and they're not going to explicitly mentioned china. and they're going to try to not force people to make that choice as amy mentioned, but as chris said in the press release from the white house, the statement about authoritarianism, aggression, and disregard for solvency is so clearly aimed at -- sovereignty is so clearly aimed at china. it's just going to put a real accent on the new, not new but it's definitely now going to be a clear signaling by the administration since the pence speech at the hudson institute that we have this long sound particularly in china and that we're going to be taking a approach that is really forcing
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that choice for people in the region. when i wrote about this the other day, when we had the u.s. ambassador to the wto here, he was talking a couple weeks ago about the fact that there is no middle-of-the-road anymore. you have to pick a lane. and you pick china or pick the united states and that overall combination of all that is going to raise real concerns and questions in the region and so to sort of undermine what i think the administration is sensibly simply trying to do in signaling through the free and open endo pacific at their connection this region. >> in terms of picking sides, president xi is not only going to aipac, but is also holding a other leaders, which i think will get a lot of
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attention and then he's going on to the philippines for a state visit so at a time when we are asking countries to choose. president xi is going with his bag of goodies presumably to the philippines and again we are not showing up. >> that's an important amplifying comments because the vice president not going to talk about trade were not very much and in asia, economics is security. so if you're not playing on the trade issue, you're not playing. >> christian. kind of to bring this back towards japan, i know michael green is not here. but you mention that vice president pence is not doing the formal trade engagements that it set up with also and i'd like to comment on, there was an article today on comments last year and how much that actually is going to influence. >> nope, i'm not going to do that one. i would, just on the first part
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of what you said, you know, my -- vice president pence was very reluctant to be the principal person responsible, i think for any particular policy issue. i think he was trying to take the joe biden approach of being in the advisor on everything and able to go anywhere. he didn't want to do i think the vice president gore did, for example what he did with the reorganization there so i think vice president pence after the armed with this to join the prime minister who wanted that high-level engagement. it was never a comfortable arrangement and the dialogue, economic dialogue about those never really had much in it. and it's now been effectively subsumed by these bilateral trade talks, which they are still debating what they are actually doing here, whether we are doing and fta or a trade
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agreement or i don't know what we're going to call it, but there is disagreement about that. and i think that just pence does not want to engage on that stuff . so it's much more about that and that controversy you mentioned, again, i'm not going to go there because there's too many booby-traps there. >> ok, if i can follow up on a more practical note, the potential trade talks with japan, who is emerging as the voice on that? bob lightheiser, no question. lightheiser seems to be clearly in control of the trade policy agenda or operationalizing the approach from here. he has opinions about it turns out about trade policy.
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but i think lightheiser is clearly operationally in charge and he's the one rolling out strategies with japan and the eu and this bilateral issues of subsidies and state enterprises and digital technology. and he's clearly the one for the nafta renegotiation. question about the japan thing is again, i was joking about the title but serious point is i think it's unclear whether the u.s. really wants to drive beyond the core issues, which i think president trump and bob have with japan which are twofold. there's agriculture market access and they're getting a lot of pressure i think from beef and pork exporters, who see australia and that eu will get favorable treatment in japan under these respective agreements and they want bad market. it's a big market for them so that thing that unionization clearly needs to address. and japan is ready to do that.
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they've are he gone through the politics in japan. what i'm going to do is i'm going to turn to bill because he had better thoughts on that that i do. matt is right, lightheiser is going to be the one that ends up, he had a statutory responsibility. he has a relationship with congress, which is protected role in trade policy. he's going to be spending a lot more time with the ways and means committee in the next congress and in this congress. democrats out this administration on process. i have allowed them not to have policy but there's not enough consultation, not enough transparency, etc. etc. so expect lots of hearings and letters, lots of meetings and they're mostly going to be with bob and he will be in charge. i think this particular
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negotiation will end up being about auto quotas, if you look at what the president talks about, it's cars and steel. talk about agriculture with farmers and it to be an important issue because obstacles to the u.s. agricultural exports in japan remain significant. dropping out of tpp made it worse. not only are we not getting the benefits of tpp, we are being replaced in the marketplace with -- because we cut a deal with the european union. so the smart thing to do is to try to get some of that back. but i would bet a decent amount of money that is not going to end up being about car quotas and it's fair to say the government has figure that out and is concerned about it. >> thank you. south china morning post, maybe a question for chris.
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i wondered how prominently you envision the belt and road theiative featured at summit, either on the agenda for the u.s. or other parts of the country, particularly in light of the fact that it seems to be a move from china to increasingly legitimize the program, partnering with high profile partners like japan. >> i think it will definitely feature probably more in the background, maybe then in the foreground, but the administration's been pretty clear in connecting the programs credits or economics. they see them as one. that message is likely to continue and to be fair, i think it's that serious problems with the tracks as they been described that result from these these projects are dealt with. that's a big issue in next -- in mixed neighborhoods, so i'll have him comment, as
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well, but i don't expect either the vice president or president trump to directly mention it to xi, i expected to be somebody as any statements. i guess the one thing i'm working for, which is important, is every now and again you get a little hit that the administration is considering coming out and posing as opposed -- coming out on belden road -- belt and road as opposed to describing in the background, i personally feel that would be a significant mistake was as we've all been discussing, they know we have these infrastructure needs but you're not playing. do you want to say anything? >> i expect this is one of the areas that prime minister moti has been more comfortable talking about our interest. india was the first major country to come out and oppose belden road. -- belt and road. it's something they point and it most other countries almost a year before they caught on there.
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prime minister moti's speech in shangri-la, same kind of thing , so they probably help keep that drumbeat alive. as chris was indicating, there's examples in their neighborhoods where they seen the result of this and that they are they got busy economic corridor and we got our reports coming up, a little commercial likelihood and -- and that that's going to be a major commercial in that area so india will keep the spotlight alive even if i think others aren't. >> one word on that, just i agree with chris. if the trump administration came out and propositioned him in this way rather than just describing concerns about it, it will be pretty isolated. aside from india, prime minister moti and all the other countries come on board and supported it. you see prime minister abe in a certain way embraces even though of course trying to raise the standard to high-quality infrastructure development, but certainly not opposing it. australia has been very supportive of belt and road in many ways.
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and in southeast asia, you're going to continue to see a lot, when president xi goes to the philippines for a state visit, there's a lot of expectations the philippines will sign the memorandum from understanding for the belt and road initiative with china. malaysia, of course, the new minister has expressed a lot of concerns and dropping deals with china. but even he doesn't want to walk away from the economic cooperations and investments from china would be a very isolating move i think. on, again thepile byline i think, there's one other point where i hear all of that but i think it would be a very serious blunder, but the good news is and to the inefficient credit, the works to push the congress build and the acronym for which i can't remember but it's basically the
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supercharged opec, which double the size of opec, and allows them to do more of the things that a japanese equivalent can do in terms of infrastructure and finance and i think that's a significant thing which will give the vice president some credibility as he's got an alternative here for belt and road and there's definitely demand in the region for the u.s. to play in this case. earlier and you heard all the time that we're not eager to fall into the embrace of china if the u.s. is not offering any. they offer something, we glad we thought though i think this is actually, i would say it's not going to be taught without explicitly but it's going to be one of the most important implicit scenes throughout this trip that china is out there with this sort of economic diplomacy and economic coercion
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and the u.s. is, is the u.s. offering something that's a credible alternative or not is a big question throughout this trip. >> i'm going to break from the room for a second and just ask our colleagues were on the phone. trish, if there's questions on that and could you please start them off? >> certainly. if you have a question on the phone lines, please press one and we will open the lineup instantly, voice of america. >> yes. i have a quick question. one is president trump. before the midterm election, he also talked to the reporters, he told the media about there would be a new deal with china. is there anything going on on -- on with that part? and the other question is about taiwan. in the past, we noted that it seems that the taiwanese who has -- taiwanese officials who
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attended the apec meeting could communicate or talk to the u.s. officials and it seems that china had not protested or complained it's not about that. what's behind this kind of thought? that's it, thanks. i think was the first question was will there be a deal? as i mentioned in my opening discussion, i think there's some movement headed in that direction. i think there's some concern. i will have to see but at some level, i interpret mr. navarro's comments because i have been reflecting what people have about the potential for a bad deal and china is maybe trying to create a firebreak in some
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degree, i don't know what the thing to focus on is probably the best that we can hope for is this idea of a truce. the idea of some sort of comprehensive deal and i think i should have mentioned earlier, there's a general understanding in all the administration and in the u.s. vicinity to that this is not something where the two presidents should be having a handshake and it's an incredibly complex issue with details and things that have to be worked out. one person said what i like about it it is think about this as the wto expression on steroids. that's what's going to have to happen. the way happy feet structural issues and bilateral economic trade relationships and that's not going to happen in november 30. on taiwan, i think i don't know anything specific. i think that there might be an opportunity. i would expect the vice president probably to alert from direct representative as was sort of consistent with u.s. policy. but it was sort of interesting,
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as you point out, china is more toned down approach to chinese representation. >> let me just have a narrow answer on the taiwan situation, so if taiwan does get a seat in apec on the name of chinese taipei. hong kong also has a seat and this is something that was agreed to many years ago under a different sort of regime or different sort of attitude in beijing about taiwan participation. aipac is a strictly economic forum, so they always make that point and for these meetings always sit down with u.s. officials and says remember, apec is an economic forum and that's all we talk about. and taiwan, although they do participate, the president of taiwan did not attend. this is a much more junior official or something.
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it's not a friend of the president or something. and beijing watches very carefully those interactions between the american delegation and taiwanese authorities and so they're watching, but be tolerated or negated. they might not have tolerated it the question came up today, i'm not sure they would as enthusiastic about having taiwan there but it's a big important economy. >> on the first question, one thing i can guarantee with certainty is it's going to be a very successful meeting, one of the best ones in history. just like the summit with kim jong-un. and it will probably have a similar outcome and agreements to have a negotiation. and i suspect they will each appoint somebody important. and there will be many people like chris, who are much smarter than i am, trying to figure out what the significance of whoever china appoints his.
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on our side, it will probably be lightheiser. the president has created a situation on trade where there's only one decision-maker. and that's him. everybody else can say whatever they want, but in the end, the president has gotten immersed into the details and felt free on a number of occasions to undercut his advisers. so it's hard to predict what's going to happen and we're a little bit on the tweet of the day. several of us here went through this exercise in the spring where he announced to the surprise of everybody he wanted to instruct his staff to look into rejoining tpp. and we geared up to figure out how to do that and in the last 40 hours, then he popped the balloon. so right now, we're heading towards successful meetings for sure. but i think it's great that there's so much detail, so many issues, that i can't imagine that they would reach an agreement that has any meaning
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in what, one meeting and one dinner, or whatever it's going to be. they will start wheels turning back believe that, assuming the president actually stayed willing to go down that road. >> sean donovan from bloomberg news. just to follow up on this in general. i haven't heard you say that the vice president is going to meet with president xi. should we expect the meeting of any kind, even with someone lower on the chain? >> no. enjoy it. , i'm in u.s. trade. kind of awkward. i was wondering, i guess, if you get from a broader view, if you take together the u.s. withdrawal from tpp and this new bilateral approach, and then
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coupled with the u.s. china trade conflict and i think what is seen by some as this desire by some factions to force companies to move out of china and break those supply chains without the tpp, which i guess was supposed to create a hub for supply chains. how do you see that affecting economic architecture of asia? and the political architecture? >> well, to the extent, it depends a little bit on how companies respond to what the president is trying to do. if you hypothesize, not everybody agrees with your analysis of what our policy is. i think you're right, but i need to say that not everybody agrees with that. whatet's hypothesize that we come of the united states government, is trying to do is
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encourage companies to be lay from the chinese economy. that has two kinds of i think a number of impacts on regional architecture. you guys have the architecture but on the regional economy. to the extent the administration , and theirul instrument is tariffs. and the other instruments is retaliatory tariffs in response to our which creationist double blow for some companies, so what you're going to see i think our american companies looking around for other locations. not everybody, as i had another -- in other context. if you build another plant in something, you're not going to turn off the light and open a new one in austin next week. if you're in the t-shirt business, maybe you can move fairly quickly and easily. so not everybody is going to do the same thing.
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draft away from -- a drift away from china in order to avoid the tariffs, the obvious place to look is elsewhere in the region to the south. you'll also see probably faster chinese companies trying to do the same thing. and i think that's one of the things that the government has to worry about. then relocating for the same purpose. that produces potential beneficiaries elsewhere in the region as people gravitate. i think cptpp will have the same effect over time. that is, these days, trade is really about supply trains and about developing global value chains, and if you're going to have a regional trade agreements, it's better to be inside the chain and outside the -- and then outside the chain. if you're inside you can take advantage of it tariffs status among parties. it's not as big as 12 but it's still significant. japan is there, australia is there and it's going toaustralis
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going to get bigger, in my view. there's a lot of incentive movements on the chain, i'm sorry, inside the region, so the countries that are already in, inside the region, the countries that are already in will benefit from people moving, and i think architecturally going to encourage other countries to join area and eventually, possibly including china. that's well down the road but they're not stupid about this. as they see companies moving to take advantage of these rearrangements, that's the thing they're going to be thinking about. so i think long-term it has architectural implications. medium-term, it has your economic implications, and there will be other countries in the region will benefit. >> you mentioned political packs impacts and regional trade architecture. i completely agree with bill in terms of the supply chain affects, and a commercially-driven supply chain affects are one way architecture
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forms, but the other way is through the political agreements , and i agree with bill that cptpp will be significant, and other countries will take a look at it and start to join. there's already a few countries have expressed interest, so we will start to see that discussion happened. but our staff is another one could have another big political impact in the sense that if our step does come online, is 15 countries at nearly 40% of the world gross domestic product and half the world's population. it's been rightly criticized for being much thinner in terms of the rules and liberalization another free trade agreements, especially cptpp, but it's bass vast in terms of its scope, and it means all of these countries are in the room together discussing trade rules.
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trade integration and not create a mechanism. they can continue to have those discussions don't conceptually , create more of a sense in the region. there are a lot of countries working together towards trade cooperation and economic integration, and the united states is not in that room either. i do think it could have a big political conceptual impact over time as well area. a monkeywrenchin or a policy question on your behalf which is, because when you talk about our step, the question is being raised and i'm hearing it from others about whether this so-called poison pill provision in the new nafta that says that basically it's one of the parties start negotiating with a nonmarket economy, which is not indonesia, china in other words, then the other parties, right to pull out of the agreements, substantively not a big deal for other reasons but the others in the region are saying well, does that mean if we do and are separate deal that
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we're going to be somehow at risk, so the u.s. has thrown another monkeywrench into this calculation that i'm not sure how that's going to affect the ultimate. in that india is going to be the bigger factor into whether it gets done or not but it's another? in this whole conversation. >> what do you guys think about the prospects for inclusion? they say every year we are going to get it, but i heard that japan might be willing to accept lower ambitions, but india obviously is scared about the correlation. what do you think about rcep? >> india is going along on this. meet,ay they are going to but they clearly don't. they won't sign a substantive agreement. they will sign a non-substantive one or you got to throw them out. those are the options when it comes down to india. >> you don't think after the election there might be a little more?
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>> no. from their policymakers perspective, a look at trade learned how the administration does get a broad number, imports and exports. we are driven off the wall on a trade deficit which is 2 1/2, -- 2.5%, 3%. india is 8%. in the eyes of 3% of india's gdp is the size of the trade deficit with china alone these are primary policy drivers that i don't think i'm actually in the last, the first three years of apec you saw the trade deficit , but this last 12 months, it started to increase and its oil ha it always have been. metals, but consumer goods, electronics and things from china is a big driver so i don't sense of selection that changes you much. >> on japan, japan is probably top priority is to try to dissuade the united states to
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come back to tpp, but japan also is very focused on rcep so , so you're right that they are willing to some degree to accept a slightly lower level of ambition because were two reasons, typically they very much for the idea of getting india into a trade agreement and includes the rest of the region. for them, india is a balancing economic partner as well as the strategic importance. and secondly, rcep would meet new trade agreements with pauline between japan and korea come onlined between japan and korea where there's no trade agreement and japan and china so even from this perspective, japanese negotiators and businesspeople do see it as very meaningful to create one set of rules of origin for the entire region, because from a japanese perspective, that's helpful for their regional production. >> not to spend much time on the points, but japan is the one country that anybody can push india into a positive mindset is
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japan. japan is underwriting a huge chunk of immediately and for shorter projects. infrastructure corridors like the delhi mumbai porter, and this is this whole thing about helping india to become more competitive. the area where it's maybe agriculture is weaker, but manufacturing is pretty weak, so if anybody can try to coax india and control india into agreement cajole india into agreement that is the absolute water is agreement the government signed in history, japan is probably the one place and do it, but only if they're willing to play hardball. we will reduce our infrastructure, it would be a less relevant partner in developing infrastructure if you don't come into the deal. i don't know they're ready to go to the mat on that, but for them the relationship is important or other reasons other than getting rcep done, but it that is the one country if they decide to focus attention can manage
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better than the united states or any other place on trade deals. >> if there's anything more, i want to thank everyone and personally thank our round the panel of experts. thank you for taking the time to sit with us. as i said before, we will be sending out a transcript of the event later today, so please take a look at your inbox for that. if for any reason you need to get on our mailing list, thank we can sort that out. thank you all for coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, cliff young, president of public affairs at ipsa, joins us to discuss results of the metrolink should. liles talks about a
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joint report with the "washington post" that examines how we debate on bills. discusses his recent article on balancing nationalism and globalism. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal," live this morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. join the discussion. join c-span sunday, veterans day, live at 430 a.m. eastern with the 100 chris wray at the end of world war i with french 100thent emanuel ron -- the end of world war i with french president emmanuel macron. we have a special call-in program on what has hopes to be wars, withend all john mosher and michael k century and plenty of eastern on c-span, coverage of president
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