President Barack Obama spent a weekend reiterating his belief economic future of the U.S. rests upon success across its westward ocean, engaging in the leaders of 21 nations in the Pacific Rim during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii.
The President said his presence showcased an enhanced and enduring interest in economic cooperation and shared growth across the Pacific, while also offering a stern warning to China, demanding it play by the rules.
On the business side, this is where the action's going to be, Obama said. I'm very proud of the leadership America has shown in the past, but I also don't want to underestimate the leadership we're showing now.
The President's cooperation-centric remarks stood in stark contrast with Chinese President Hu Jintao's assertion that China will transform itself into a market of proprietary products, moving away from it's the lightning-speed industrial output of foreign companies' products.
China has huge market potential and capital, Hu said. China will work hard to turn itself into an innovation-driven country [. . .] so we can transition from 'made in China' to 'created in China.'
According to U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman, Obama told the Chinese president U.S. businesses were growing increasingly impatient and frustrated with the state of change in China economic policy and the evolution of the U.S.-China economic relationship.
The Obama administration believes the nation's economic growth depends on blossoming relations with the nations lining the Pacific. During the weekend, Obama revealed the framework for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes nine APEC nations, which would create a pan-Pacific free trade zone. Australia, Brunei Darassalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru and Chile join the U.S. in initial talks over the formation of the TPP.
I'm very pleased to announce that our nine nations have reached the broad outlines of an agreement, Obama said. There are still plenty of details to work out, but we are confident that we can do so. So we've directed our teams to finalize this agreement in the coming year. It is an ambitious goal, but we are optimistic that we can get it done.
The move represents a strong U.S. foray into a market by many estimates dominated by China.
Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers are beyond our borders, Obama said. I want them to be buying goods with three words stamped on them: Made in America. So I've been doing everything I can to make sure that the United States is competing aggressively for the jobs and the markets of the future. No region will do more to shape our long-term economic future than the Asia Pacific region.
Obama will next make a trip to Australia to announce a new military relationship with Australia, before heading to Bali, Indonesia for the East Asia Summit next weekend.