U.S. Trade ambassador gives territories hope for lower prices

Congressman Michael San Nicolas early Saturday morning spoke with U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai about including the territories in a new alliance that promises to reduce prices for the citizens of its member countries.

Ms. Tai, thanking the congressman for the facts of Guam and the other territories’s previous non-inclusion in trade matters affecting the country, spoke of her awareness of Guam and the CNMI’s presence in the Indo-Pacific, and the sense it makes for the territories to benefit from the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiative.

The nation recently launched this initiative with U.S. allies in Guam’s backyard: Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Together with the United States, these countries make up 60 percent of the world’s population and gross domestic product.

The United States maintains it is an Indo-Pacific power. The reason the U.S. is able to make this claim is precisely because of the presence of two of its territories in this region: Guam and the CNMI.

The initiative is expected to benefit the member countries with more free-flowing supply chains, shared advancements in digital economy, anti-tax fraud, bribery, and money laundering cooperation, and infrastructure and energy development.

Ms. Tai told him she will bring the idea of the territories’s inclusion to her legal team for further evaluation.

Mr. San Nicolas wrote the following on his Facebook page, where he posted his recorded call with Ms. Tai, which we also provide here:

Getting Guam included in favorable terms with U.S. Trading partners is critical to opening up our capacity for transpacific trade and export-oriented industry for our island.
We have written to the President seeking such in the newly announced Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that will establish updated trade relations throughout our region, and expressed such directly to the primary person spearheading this for the country.
It was a pleasure to engage Ambassador Katherine Tai early this morning, who is the principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on U.S. trade policy, and Co-Chair, White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI); Co-Chair, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
We look forward to our next steps with her office to make sure we open up these opportunities for Guam, which will be transformative in our pursuit of economic diversification, business expansion, and job creation for our people.

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