Assessing U.S. Objectives for APEC 2023
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Assessing U.S. Objectives for APEC 2023

Podcast with Charles W. Boustany, Shihoko Goto, and Robert Holleyman
April 14, 2023

In this episode of Asia Insight, NBR counselor Charles Boustany hosts a discussion on APEC 2023 with Ambassador Robert Holleyman and Shihoko Goto.

NBR is grateful to the Hinrich Foundation for their generous support of this podcast.

Charles W. Boustany Jr., MD, is a Counselor for the National Bureau of Asian Research. Congressman Boustany retired from the U.S. Congress after serving from 2005 to 2017. During his tenure, he served on the House Ways and Means Committee and chaired the Subcommittee on Oversight, the Subcommittee on Human Resources, and the Subcommittee on Tax Policy. He was also a senior member of the Subcommittee on Trade. Congressman Boustany was an acknowledged leader in the areas of trade policy, international tax policy, energy policy, and foreign policy in the U.S. House of Representatives. He co-chaired the U.S.-China Working Group, the U.S.-Japan Caucus, and the Friends of TPP Caucus.

Shihoko Goto is the Director for Geoeconomics and Indo-Pacific Enterprise and Deputy Director for the Asia Program at the Wilson Center. Her research focuses on the economics and politics of Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, as well as U.S. policy in Northeast Asia. A seasoned journalist and analyst, she has reported from Tokyo and Washington for Dow Jones and UPI on the global economy, international trade, and Asian markets. A columnist for the Diplomat magazine and contributing editor to the Globalist, she was previously a donor country relations officer for the World Bank and has been awarded fellowships from the East-West Center and the Knight Foundation, among others.

Robert Holleyman is a member of the Board of Advisors at the National Bureau of Asian Research and President and CEO of Crowell & Moring International, where he is part of the firm’s International Trade, Privacy & Cybersecurity, and National Security groups. Ambassador Holleyman served as Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) from 2014 to 2017. He was responsible for U.S. trade and investment relations in Asia, including the APEC forum, China, and India. He was also responsible for global trade policy in the areas of services, investment, intellectual property, and innovation. He led USTR’s focus on the digital economy and U.S. negotiating priorities around digital trade and also represented USTR on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.


[4:33] In what areas do you think the United States can make tangible progress in its host year, and where do you see things being particularly challenging?

[11:50] How important is it, Robert, for the U.S. to have more specific deliverables coming out of this, as opposed to just demonstrating leadership on the big stage of APEC?

[14:17] In terms of deliverables, obviously IPEF has a number of pillars, some of which may be more promising and fruitful in terms of getting to some sort of statement that could be seen as a deliverable, and others not so much. Shihoko, what’s your view?

[17:26] Do you see any pathway to seeing some kind of collaboration there and expansion around digital trade? I think this modular approach within DEPA is an interesting approach because it does account for changes in technology, changes in standards and so forth. Any possibilities there?

[21:26] What do you think about the dynamics with China and Russia being part of APEC, but many other countries in the region—predominantly in Southeast Asia—not wanting to take sides in all this? Will the Chinese come in the spirit of “let’s figure out what we can agree to economically,” or will they take this position of quickly labeling everything the U.S. tries to do as containment and the attempt to “hold China back”?

[25:31] Shihoko, on the geopolitical overtones of this, what are your views?

[30:51] What do you think the administration will do to try to move the needle on the labor front?

About Asia Insight

The NBR podcast series Asia Insight features interviews with top Asia experts about key issues affecting the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on implications for U.S. policy and businesses. Subscribe to Asia Insight on Podbean and Apple Podcasts and let us know what you think of the podcast on Twitter.

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This podcast was edited by Doug Strub at NBR.