tv CSIS Discussion on East Asia Summit CSPAN November 14, 2018 9:25pm-10:42pm EST
at 11:15 am, alyssa court on the middle class, with her book squeezed. at 250 5:00 p.m., fox news politics editor discussing his book, every man a king. former secretary of state john kerry with his memoir, every day is extra. >> watch the miami book fair, live this weekend on c-span twos book tv. >> more from the center of strategic and international studies with a discussion previewing the east asia summits in singapore a panel that included foreign diplomats and strategists talking about trump's decision not to attend this summit. this runs one hour 15 minutes.
welcome -- hold on i will transfer you. >> i would like to begin, my name is colin quinn the director for new media and i will be moderating today's press briefing. thank you for coming. i want to give you a quick note for housekeeping. we will be transcribing this discussion, so when you are asking questions identify yourself, we will then send the
transcript later today. so, let me introduce my colleagues who will be speaking today in this order , to my left, matthew goodman, senior vice president and a senior advisor for economics and the coordinator, thanks so much. and to his left is amy seawright, senior advisor and director in the southeast asia program at csis, bill, the senior advisor in international business, rick who is the senior advisor in the u.s. india policy studies and chris johnson, and then on the phone we have victor who is a senior advisor and korea chair at csis. we will all hear from them today.
to start us off, matt, please. >> thanks, colin. so vice president pence heads to asia this weekend for the annual >>reporter: of summits, the reason the organizing principle of the trip, he's going to the east asia summit and the aipac event. so, he will be in the region for about one week and this is something a president normally does but trump opted not to do this trip and ask vice president pence to do the trip. i think for me the overarching scene here is that the vice president will face some skepticism from allies and partners in the region these are in three areas of skepticism. one is concerned about some of
the statements and actions the trump administration has taken the criticism of allies classic up to schism about multilateral approaches like the things that will be done in these summit time new interest in china policies, following vice president pence's speech in early october that was quite strong in tone particularly in southeast asia, there will be questions and concerns about that. then, obviously, the withdraw from the transpacific partnership in the paris climate accord has reached -- has raised question and the use of tariffs against allies and against china are a source of concern and then certainly questions about north korean policy that the vice president will encounter in places like japan which has different interests there in addition to the shared interest about
proliferation and missile development with other specific issues. so i think that's one set of one reason for this to schism the vice president will have to address. the second reason for skepticism is the free and open and a pacific strategy, which is the headline that trump announced last year on the same trip when he was in vietnam and gave a speech at the aipac ceo summit and use this phrase that has now been fleshed out to some extent by other administration officials including mike pompeo and this speech in july. there are questions about the content, the headline residents well -- resonates well but the details are unclear because of the withdrawal and the non-
replacement by another credible regional trade strategy, there are lots of questions about that. but, i think you will see the vice president trying to address those things by flushing out some of the points raised in the pompeo speech they digital conductivity, specific item that the secretary of state mentioned, infrastructure energy are areas you should expect to see some discussion of. the third reason for skepticism is the fact that it the vice president and not the president because, as you've probably heard us say, 80% of life is showing up and they watch that stuff carefully, particularly in southeast asia. he will face those headwinds but the other way to look at this is there is a real opportunity for the vice president to try to flesh out some of these points and convince folks that
the united states is committed to the region that they do have content and that essentially, the u.s. is there for allies and partners and there is a big opportunity and a lot of attention will be paid to this. let me say one word about the japan stop because mike green couldn't be here. he asked me to wear a kilt to represent him but mine is at the cleaners. so i think, mike would say the purpose of the japan stop will reassure japan of the alliance. there is an interest in discussing with the prime minister, north korea, china, regional security issues, maritime security issues, i think there will be much on trade. the vice president has been
reluctant to engage in the formal process because we are in a cooling off period on the bilateral trade agreement. >> from japan, pence will travel to singapore for two of the major asia summits. the first will be a u.s. aussie on summit where he will meet with all 10 leaders of southeast asia nations and then
the major summit brings together the 10 members as well as eight other countries -- other eight asian countries. singapore has been chair with two big priorities so a lot of the news coming out of the meetings is focused on the two wishes. asian will meet as a group in before singapore and they will focus on the south china sea on a draft code of conduct. there has been modest progress towards negotiating a draft, it still has a long way to go with major disagreements but, this is something that asean has
been pushing for and brought china back to the table. there's been a lot of work by singapore to push the code of conduct closer to a conclusion. there's now a single draft text that is the basis for negotiations that was announced during the summit in august and there is some talk about that. the united states main concern is that the draft, the 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 aussie on in china but it is strongly suggested that a code of conduct should be binding to all parties.
the concern now is there has been languages sorted by china that would seek to limit u.s. presence in exercises. >> the second big issue is on the trade front, the comprehensive and progressive partnership newly renamed have ratified the agreement and is slated to come on board by the end of the year, and there's been a lot of focus against the backdrop of uncertainty about u.s. trade policy and the growing tariffs between the united states and china.
basically it's all of eastern europe minus the united states and china. they've tried hard to use push this agreement towards a substantial conclusion that, india has been the holdup all along because next year is a election-year and there's been disagreements with members about the level of ambition for trade rules. it looks like they won't get quite the conclusion they want to be able to announce and this means that this trade agreement will drag on into next year and likely beyond.
but there will be a lot of discussion around that as well. so, vice president pence will give the speech at aipac and in his engagement with his asean counterparts, and that his intervention of the east asia summit, the countries will look for reassuring message that gives a little more detail about the free and open pacific means for the u.s. commitment and vision for the region. there is some concern about u.s./china policy, the strategic rivalry. countries appreciate a strong u.s. presence in the region, to balance against overly assertive behavior from china. but, they are quite concerned about the prospect that tensions might escalate into something more serious, the close encounter of the navy destroyer and it chinese vessel
cause a lot of concern. and countries do not want to feel like they are forced to choose between partnership with the united states or china. it's an opportunity for pence to give her reassuring message along the lines that the free and open pacific is fund alleviate a strategy about maintaining an open inclusive architecture supportive to everyone. >> >> my task is to talk about aipac and trade and i don't have much to say. expectations are low, and they probably won't be fulfilled anyway. so, i can be brief. >> [ laughter ] some of the important elements have been mentioned better than i can do.
the vice president's role has been well outlined in a is a major speech in parallel to the leaders summit and he will try to do exact the what matt and amy said which is try to reassure people about the continued u.s. commitment to the region that is one of the issues of words versus deeds. as matt pointed out the president pulled out of tpp his third day in office and has not replaced it with anything material, they replaced it with the name of a strategy that they haven't put meat on those bones. i think he will probably say the right thing and try to provide some reassurances. in that sense, to say i expect a different tone that he set here when he spoke of the
hudson institute weeks ago, whether the end there countries will be reassured or not, i think it's less because the united states position on the ground, at least on the economic front, continues to sit just of lack of a strategy. so we will see how that plays out. for the conference itself, this theme is harnessing inclusive opportunities and embracing the digital future. apex strength over the years has been the promotion of regional integration, largely through the development of white me consensus of best practices. in selected areas. these take a long time, it's a little easier than trade negotiations, because there are best practices, 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 already that a number of participants, particularly china and the united dates have different views of how the internet should operate and be governed. i think you will probably see some reflection of that in the discussions at aipac. one thing they've done in the past, which i hope they will be able to advance at this summit and next year is there cross- border privacy rules which are basic we a construct for trying to encourage companies to adopt consistent and harmonized privacy rules. countries are signing up for this and to the extent some can improve the exercise this time around and in future years. it's not really compatible with the chinese approach to the internet, in particular although
all the members subscribe to this in the past, so where this goes will be interesting. i don't expect a lot of excitement but to the extent that they can make modest steps in the direction of furthering the utility of this would be a good thing. in addition there's been some talk that they will be able to put out or publish something they've been working on which is something that alerted me with services trade restrict did index. this is not unique. the oecd did this, the wto secretary did this and world bank has done this. these are exercises that are an attempt to identify trade restrict did practices in the interest of greater transparency and the interest of hopefully eventually leading to negotiations in various
areas putting limits on practices. the fact that aipac is doing this is good, if they can get an agreement to put it out publicly, that's even better. it's a long way from that to accomplishing something in terms of eliminating some of these practices. but i think, what aipac has been good out over the years is successions of small steps that lead to something and i think this would be a good example of that. you will also see the standard rhetoric that comes out of every one of these things about regional integration and the importance of the free-trade agreement for asia-pacific. this has been a goal for 20 years at least, i think were not should -- were not much closer to it now and it's useful if they continue to restate it and maintain commitment that 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, via the negotiation as mentioned in the question of turning the ctt bpp our 11 into a actual operating agreement. it's one of the things that overlays the exercise and will go in effect december 30 having been ratified by the 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 there is a deepness, it will become operational and a viable entity and a regional trade agreement in the asia-pacific area even without us. this is a good thing and hopefully it's something we will come back to at a later date. so, i think that's the
landscape. don't expect too much. i don't expect anything terrible , that may be the best we can hope for. >> as you can understand, it's hard to get everyone in the room at the same time so, we have a colleague on the phone, victor who is coming up and tight for time, so victor if you could join a sincere piece we would be very happy. >> sure, calling. thank you. so, on korea, there is no stop in korea on the way to aipac but , vice president pence will meet the south korean leader there. in the case of korea, they've just come off here in washington , so i imagine there will be a reaffirmation's of some of the decisions reached their on suspension of exercises, on
delineating conditions and procedures for transition, one piece that is still not resolved is sma, the special measures agreement which is the burden sharing agreement between the united states and south korea for the u.s. military forces in korea. this is an unusually difficult the negotiation that happens every four or five years. this one is difficult because i think basically the president wants korea to pay for everything, as opposed to something that is roughly a 50- 50 split as in past agreements. but of course, the main topic of discussion, because it's the only topic of discussion when it comes to korea these days is north korea and that trip by secretary pompeo, to meet with
kim young cho was canceled, not sure because of substance or logistics. if it's substance, my guess is we are really 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 a declaration and inspection by iaea inspectors on the ground and from the u.s. cited the demand to lift sanctions if north korea will take those sorts of actions. what has been of discussion is the main satellite launch facility, the new your test site and of course the old young gun nuclear complex. i think the midterm elections may be a good thing for career
policy in the sense that there will be many more demands of the administration for transparency with regard to closed high levels of associations that have only been within a small circle, not many people on the hill have been briefed about the set also i imagine there will be many more calls to come brief or on the policy and, there will be more scrutiny of any agreements reached between the administration and the north koreans on things like verification, inspections and so in a sense, the midterms are good check against assuring that trump doesn't take a bad deal with north korea. >> my understanding is they are still on a timeline for a second summit, sometime early in the new year, it's not clear
office. after 4 1/2 years in office, on economic you have a bit of a true track strain. the most pro- investment minister we have seen from india. you have seen a dramatic rise. domestic reforms to make it easier to do business there. that varies quite a bit with trade policy. as reluctant as india has been on trade liberalization over the years, they are even less interested in trade. you see an increase in customs duties. you have seen india walking away from pending trade agreements. any agreement that has china at the table, they will be reluctant to conclude.
india has a massive trade deficit with china. i don't see an agreement that includes both india and china. take that however you want. ultimately india gets expelled, ultimately they agreed to have a watered-down deal that everyone can agree to. big differences in terms of how they are approaching trade and investment. on security continuing and augmenting some rhetoric on engagement with east asia, you see it in practice with japan. i think india sides japan. you see some interesting examples where with vietnam, with indonesia. there are a little bit of sparks there as well. i think nothing fairly substantive. some small parts, but nothing terribly robust. in practice the government will still talk about policy. intangible ways of measuring it
comes up pretty lacking. i expect as modi goes to the east asia summit, as he talks about wishes and desires, and delivers remarks, probably be very similar to what we heard at the speech at shangri-la earlier this year. free and open partnership for all, very similar themes. i'm going to be watching much more closely what modi has with vice president ends. the bilateral relationship has some headwind and choppy water. the security relationship between the u.s. and india has been steadily strengthening. we had our inaugural 2+2 dialogue for the secretary of defense and secretary of state where they travel to india two months ago. they came up with a number of very important substantive agreements. that is well and good. still most of it is technology shine practice and things like that. we don't have much happening
operationally. the trade with india has taken a downturn in the last eight months or so. the u.s. is looking to revoke trade benefits. india is looking at adopting counter trade tariffs after the 232 serifs -- tariffs. india was added to the treasury departments currency manipulation watch list. the treasury indicated they may be taken off before too long. there are a variety of real problem issues that have arisen in both sides. they -- the united states is talking about changing visa regulations. india is the number 1 place that high-tech workers come from. some real choppy waters on the trade front. so far good thing on the security front has remained fairly protected. you don't know how long that can last. the bilateral with pence will be very important.
it looks like our trade leaders were supposed to have a meeting last month. that is getting postponed or delayed. this is one more opportunity to see if we can hold off on any dramatic actions to impair the trade relationship while we try to figure out small steps to resolve it. i will leave it at that and handed over to chris. >> thank you, rick. it is often unusual when we have these press briefings for the china issue to come up last. but i think it is appropriate in this context. in some ways as my deposit and would say, -- as monte python would say, they are not appearing in this meeting. all the action will be on the g 20 meeting coming up in argentina. that has been what i will be discussing today. i suspect that there will be some side effects from vice president fences trip -- vice
president pence's trip. one of the main messages the vice president will be highlighting his efforts at authoritarianism, aggression, and disregard for other nations sovereignty will be opposed by the united states. i don't think he is talking about indonesia. he is talking about china. i raise that because with so much attention on the trade conflict between u.s. and china, sometimes we forget there is a pretty serious deterioration in the strategic relationship going on as well. this is probably likely to fuel further with greater injection of strategic instability into the most consequential lateral relationships in the world. i think that is something that becomes a real focus from one president trump and president she sit down with each other in argentina. as much as a focus will be on trade. to look at the dynamics there,
where did the strategic instability come from? it has come from a series of actions from the administration and most notably the vice president speech that he delivered here not too long ago. particularly the key line in their where he indicates that taiwan by choosing democracy has made the right choice, implicit in that is that china has made the wrong choice. and it's authoritarian system of government is illegitimate. that is a very serious thing for the united states to be saying. it is causing a lot of alarm bells to go off in senior leadership circles in beijing. i find it striking for example that this very day we are having around of diplomatic and security dialogue between the u.s. and china. it is striking to me that the chinese approach on how to manage the forward conversation was to have that meeting first before any trade discussions. that tells me that the disorder and the broader strategic relationship is of greater concern than the [null]-for-tat
elements of the trade war. that is very noteworthy the administration. where might we be headed? i think the strategic issues will come up in the bilateral between trump at the -- and she at the g 20 meeting. we rarely see president trump make any mention of the strategic issues. he doesn't talk about china as a strategic competitor practicing predatory economics. he talks about how they are ripping us off but he doesn't seem to address those elements of the relationship too much. he has a unique relationship with the president, of friendship he is trying to maintain and the rest of the administration can make these noises but he doesn't do that. his real focus is the trade issue. and how to manage that with china.
the real question i suppose is where we make a deal of some sort at this meeting in argentina. i think the first question is to understand does the united states want to make the deal? that is a very hard question to sort out. i think we are seeing right now ticked off the president's tweet last thursday about his conversation with president xi. there is another round of what i call inside the administration intramural gymnastics that are occurring. you know the players, we have secretary minh nguyen, mr. goodlow and a few others advocating for some others, and some opposing the bad deal, like what victor was saying on north korea. it is going to come down to president trump. and then there is the question no one seems to be asking which is does
president xi want a deal? there is an automatic assumption they do want a deal. i think we have to acknowledge the possibility that maybe they don't. or at least not under these conditions. if you look at the comments that president xi has been making in recent weeks domestically about self- reliance, autarky and technology, these things, it is not just pure propaganda. at some level he believes it. unless the conditions are right from his point of view, i am not sure he wants a deal. that leaves us in a position where probably the best we can hope for is what you might call a framework agreement to emerge. i think it is a decision by both sides, let's bring the temperature down a little bit, particularly on the strategic side but also on the trade side by freezing existing tariffs in place, perhaps rolling back some if the chinese do some market access opening measures here pretty darn quick because
we are running out of time for the meeting. and a decision by the two presidents at their level to empower their respective appropriate people to start what will be a tough and prolonged negotiation because there are a lot of serious issues on the table. let me stop there. >> thank you very much. i would now like to turn to your questions, we have some of your colleagues calling in on the phone. if anyone in the room, yes? >> thank you. >> i just want to follow up a couple questions on china. because this midterm election just finished, do you expect any change of those policies from the administration towards china? will the current policy continue? and also what is the strategic
security dialogue between the u.s. and china? do you expect anything that can come out of it, anything solid out of it? >> great, thank you. on the midterms there was a lot of perception in china earlier on that perhaps if the democrats had a big win and the house changed hands and maybe the senate as well, that perhaps president trump would be wounded somehow or there might be a lessening of pressure. my impression is that the closer and closer we got to the election, the less and less they believed that. i know a lot of americans had told them this is not the case. i think what we are seeing here in dc and it is important to emphasize in washington, if you visit other parts of the country you don't see this dynamic, is a fundamental ground shift in the way that people think about china. the democrats in a lot of cases now sound a lot like their
administration opposite numbers. i don't think we will see a particular lessening. when a president loses the ability to move domestic legislation at home, they start to look to foreign-policy for their achievements. i would expect the president to be thinking a lot more about that going forward. china will be a fundamental focus. on the diplomatic and security dialogue, i think expectations are low. to some degree the fact that the meeting is occurring is a benefit. and that is primarily because we had a postponement of what was supposed to be around of the sidewalk in beijing about a month ago. the mere fact -- around of this dialogue in beijing about a month ago. the mere fact they are having this is helpful. i don't think we should expect any tremendous initiatives. the main objective was to get the counselor to meet with the president. doesn't look like that will happen. that will probably not be super
well received in beijing. >> thank you. peter nicholas wall street journal. to elaborate, with the absence of president trump, will this be seen as a snob? is there anything vice president can say or do to make up for this? >> there are two schools of thought about vice president going instead, one is it is not a big deal and this is happened before. vice president gore attended to apec summits. usually those were last-minute cancellations because of domestic crisis. the fact that trump announced this far in advance is a little different. no big deal. another part of the argument is these meetings are not all that critically important. it is not that big outcomes emerge from the discussions on
the ground. they are scripted and tedious. most presidents don't enjoy sitting in them. the third aspect is looking at president trump and his recent behavior in various summits from the g7 summit and the nato summit, some people think it is better for the vice president to go, less disruptive. less risky in terms of those kinds of dynamics. i think our view, certainly my view is that it really does matter. at a time when the administration is trying to put forward a strategic vision in u.s. foreign policy and trying to make the case that this is a region of great strategic importance to the administration, the fact that president trump won't be there will be perceived as the united states is not as committed to the region as other countries.
all the other leaders will be there. the only other exception being president clinton. -- president putin. russia is not as important to many of these countries as the united states is. i think the president not showing up will send a message. it will undercut the seriousness with which countries in the region will take the u.s. long- term and our commitment. there is already a fair amount of skepticism about it. could the vice president do something to overturn that? i suppose, not only if he came with a reassuring message which i think you will have, but with a really big basket, a hefty deliverable that tries to show the united states is going to put skin in the game and commit to somethings. that would be one thing.
we don't anticipate that. there are not big economic deliverables other than what was already announced. they're not big security deliverables. there is no big security initiatives to announce. i think there will be some disappointment. >> and i just add something to what amy just said? that is that apec is all about the picture. it is about the picture with all the leaders and whatever funny garb they are wearing. a number of people in the room have been to these things. based on protocol, the vice president will be at the end in the back somewhere. well xi jinping will be standing right next to the host. overall it is a bad optic when we don't show up. i have been part of administration's they haven't shown up, too. i think amy is right. he will be there and there are
small things they will be doing. the overall message is going to be there is just interest and it is not a priority. that is not good given the broader context of what is happening in asia. >> may follow up with one question? under president obama, how confusing it might be to some of these asian countries to see president trump not showing up after u.s. proclaimed it was going to make a pivot to asia? >> i think it is fair to point out to president obama did this at the east asia summit in 2013. that was in the midst of a budget crisis and the threat of a government shutdown. he sent secretary kerry. he did it to all the other summits on his watch. president bush had a perfect attendance record at apec . the
free and open pacific was an attempt to rebrand and rebalance the region that this region remains a top strategic priority for this administration as well. out of the gate, the administration did a reasonably good job in some ways of engaging southeast asian leaders for 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 long trip to the region to attend most of these summits. this year it seems like that momentum has slacked off. it has led to some questions in the region and some skepticism about how important is this region really is present in this demonstration. >> on victor's point, trying to get multiple presidents to put on a silly shirt, i totally agree with victor that that is a critical issue, if you are
not standing front and center it will be noticed. it will be assigned we are not there. the other point is it seems like there's a bit of a contradiction that the vice president and the white house are signaling that they intend to come out with a reassuring and positive message and they will not explicitly mention china. they will try to not force people to make that choice that amy mentioned. as chris said in the press release from the white house, the statement about authoritarianism, aggression, and disregard for sovereignty is so clearly aimed at china, it will put an accent on the new, definitely a clear signal by the administration since pence is -- pence's speech. we will
be taking an approach that is forcing that choice for people in the region when i read 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 lien. you pick china or pick united states. i think the combination of all that will raise real concerns and questions in the region. and undermine what i think the administration is sensibly trying to do in signaling through the free and open pacific that there is a commitment to this region. >> in terms of picking sides, president xi is not only going to apec, but he will be holding a meeting with other pacific island nation leaders which i think will get a lot of attention.
and then he is going out to the philippines for a state visit. at a time when we are asking countries to choose, president xi is going with his bag of goodies to the philippines and we are not showing up. >> that is an important amplifying comment. the vice president isn't going to talk about trade. or not very much. in asia, economics is security. if you're not playing on the trade issue, not playing. >> to bring this back to japan, i know michael green is not here, but you did mention that vice president pence is not doing the formal trade engagement. i was wondering if you can comment on the fact that there was an article could sit -- an article today on comments about hitler and how much that's an influence? >> on the first part of what
you said, vice president pence was very reluctant to be the principal person responsible, for any particular policy issue, i think he was trying to take the joe biden approach of being the advisor on everything. he didn't want to do it vice president recorded of being in charge of the russia relationship, or government reorganization. he had the arm twisted to join this. and the prime minister really wanted that high level of engagement. it was never a comfortable arrangement. the economic dialogue never had much in it. and it has now been effectively assumed by these bilateral trade talks which they are still debating what we are
actually doing here, whether we are doing fda or a tag, or a banana, or i don't know what we will call it. there is a disagreement about that. i think pence does not want to engage on that stuff. it is much more about that in the controversy you mentioned, i'm not going to go there. there are too many booby-traps there. >> if i can follow up on a more practical note then. for the potential trade talks with japan, who is emerging as the voice on that in the u.s. government? >> bob lighthouses are -- bob light. he seems to be clearly in control of the trade agenda. he has opinions about it in terms of trade policy. but i think light kaiser is
operationally in charge and he is the one rolling out the strategy with japan and the eu and this trilateral effort on the key issues and subsidies and digital technology and so forth. and is clearly the one. he didn't have to renegotiations and he will behind the bilateral with japan. -- he did nafta regulations -- renegotiations and he will be behind the bilateral with japan. if they drive behind the core issues, they are twofold. agriculture access in japan. they are getting a lot of pressure from beef and pork exporters, to see that australia and the eu get favorable treatment in japan under respectable agreements. they want that market. it is a big market for them. that is something the administration clearly needs to
address. and japan is ready to do that. they seem ready to get the same level of access. they have already gone through the politics in japan. the other problem has been at the center of our economic and trade relationship for years. actually what i'm going to do is turn to bill. i think he has better thoughts on that than i do. >> bob is going to be the one that ends up with us. -- ends up with this. he has a relationship with congress which is protective of its role in trade policy. he will be spending a lot more time with the ways and means committee in the next congress than he did in this congress. the congress have faulted the administration. they allow him not to have ultimate policy. not a lot -- not enough transparency.
expect lots of letters and meetings. they will mostly be with bob. he will be in charge. this particular negotiation will end up being about auto photos. it is all the president talks about is cars and steel. he talked about agriculture when his meeting with farmers. it ought to be an important issue. obstacles to u.s. agricultural exports in japan remain significant. dropping out made it worse. not only are we not getting the benefits, we are being replaced in the marketplace because they cut a deal with european union. the smart thing to do is try to get some of that back. i would bet a decent amount of money will be about car quotas. the japanese government has figured that out and is concerned about it.
>> may be a question for chris. how are the summits in light that there seems to be a move from china to legitimize the program with high profile partners like japan. >> i think it will definitely feature more in the background then the foreground. i think the administrations -- the administration has been pretty clear in connecting the program with predatory economics. they see them as one. that message is likely to continue. i think it resonates in some way. we do have some serious problems with how the death traps are dealt with in mixed
neighborhoods. but i don't expect either the vice president or president trump to mention it directly to xi jinping. i expect it to be the drumbeat in each of our statements. i guess the one thing i am watching for which is important is every now and again you get a little hint that maybe the administration is considering coming out and formally opposing as opposed to describing in the background. i think that would be a significant mistake. as we have been discussing, the message it sends to the regions is we know you have these infrastructure needs but we are not playing. >> this is one of the areas that prime minister modi has been more comfortable talking about. india was the first major country to come out and impose golden road. it took the united states a
year before they caught on there. prime minister modi's speech in shangri-la, i expect they will keep the drumbeat alive. in sri lanka they had seen the results of this. little commercial likelihood that that will be a commercial entity there. india will keep the pilot light alive on this even if others aren't. >> just to agree with chris, if the trump administration came out in opposition to the road rather than just describing concerns about it, it will be pretty isolated. aside from india, pretty much all the other countries have come on board and supported it. we have seen others embrace it, although trying to raise the standard to high-quality.
certainly not opposing it. australia has been supportive of belton road in many ways. in southeast asia you will continue to see a lot of importance. there is a lot of expectations, malaysia has expressed concerns. even he doesn't want to walk away from economic cooperation and investment from china. it would be a very isolating move. >> there is one other point. if we did oppose belt and road it would be a serious blunder. the good news is and to the administrations credit they work to push with congress this build act, the acronym i can't remember, but it is the
supercharged opec which doubled the size and allows it to do more of the things that the japanese equivalent can do in terms of infrastructure. i think that is a significant thing that will give the vice president some credibility as we have an alternative here to belt and road. there is definitely demand in the region for u.s. to plate in the space. i was in me and mark earlier this year. -- in myanmar earlier this year. the u.s. is not offering anything. if you would offer something we would be glad to talk. i think this is not going to be talked about explicitly but it will be one of the most important implicit things throughout this trip. china is out there with this assertive economic diplomacy and some economic coercion. and the u.s. is -- is the u.s.
offering something that is a credible alternative or not? that is a big question to run through this trip. >> i'm going to break from the room for a second and ask our colleagues who are on the phone, trish if there are questions on that and could you please start them off? >> if you have a question on the phone line press star one and we will open the line to voice of america. >> president trump, before the midterm election he talked to the media about a deal with china, is there anything going on on that part? the other question is about taiwan. in the past it seems that
taiwanese officials who went into the apec meeting and they could talk to u.s. officials. it seems that china complained about that. what is behind this? >> the first question, will there be a deal? >> as i mentioned in my opening discussion, i think there is some movement headed in that direction. i think there is some concern. at some level i interpret mr. navarro's comments as reflecting the concerns that some people have about a potential for a bad deal in trying to create a firebreak to
some degree in that regard, i don't know. i think the thing to focus on is probably the best we can hope for is the idea of a truce. the idea of some sort of comprehensive deal. i should have mentioned earlier, there is a general understanding that this is not something where the two presidents should be having a handshake. this is an incredibly complex issue. think of this as the wto negotiation on steroids. that is what we will have to have two deal with these deep structural issues in the bilateral economic trade relationship. that will not happen between now and november 30. on taiwan, i don't know anything specific. i think there might be an opportunity. i would expect the vice president to have direct interaction with the taiwan
representatives and that would be consistent with u.s. policy. it is interesting as you point out china's more toned down approach to taiwanese representation. >> let me add a narrow answer on the taiwan and apec situation. taiwan does get a seat under chinese taipei. hong kong also has a seat. this was agreed to many years ago under different regime or different attitude in beijing about taiwan's participation. apec is a strictly economic forum. beijing always makes that point. remember apec is an economic forum and that is all we are going to talk about. taiwan, although they do participate, the president of taiwan does not attend. a more junior official, a friend of the president or
something comes and sits in that seat. beijing watches very carefully those interactions between the american delegation and taiwanese authorities. they are watching. and they tolerated it. they might not tolerate it if the question came up today. i'm not sure they would be enthusiastic about having them there. but it is a big economy in the apec region. >> on the first question, the one thing i can guarantee with certainty is it will be a brilliantly successful meeting. one of the best ones in history. just like the senate with -- the summit with kim jong un. it will probably have a similar outcome an agreement to have a negotiation. i suspect they will each appoint someone 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 the chinese appoint is. on our side
it will probably be lighthizer. then we will see what happens. the president has created the situation on trade where there is only one decision maker. and that is him. everybody else can say whatever they want. in the end the president has gotten immersed in the details of some of these agreements. it is hard to predict what will happen and a little bit on the tweet of the day. several of us here went through this exercise in the spring or he is announced -- where he announced that he wanted to look into rejoining ct ttp. that lasted 48 hours. and then he popped the balloon. right now we are heading toward a successful meeting for sure. but i think as chris said, there's so much detail, so many
issues that i can't imagine that they would reach an agreement that has any meaning in one meeting and one dinner. i think they will start the wheels turning that could lead to that, assuming the president stays willing to go down that road. >> just a follow-up on this, i haven't heard you say that vice president pence is going to meet with xi , should we expect a meeting at any time with someone lower? >> no. >> i was wondering from a broader view if you take together the u.s. withdrawal from ttp and this new bilateral
approach coupled with the u.s. china trade conflict that is seen by some as breaking the supply chains, without the ttp which is supposed to create a hub for supply chains in the region, how do you see that affecting the economic architecture of asia and the political architecture? >> it depends a little bit on how companies respond to what the president is trying to do. not everyone agrees with your analysis on what our policy is. i think you are right. but i need to say not everyone agrees with that. let's hypothesize with what the
united states government is trying to do. that has a number of impacts. certainly on the regional economy. to the extent the administration is successful, their instrument is tariffs. the other instrument is tariffs in response to hours. that creates a double blow for some companies. what you are going to see is american companies looking for other locations. not everybody. if you build a $3 billion fabrication plant two years ago, you're not going to turn off the lights and open a new one in austin next week. if you are in the t-shirt business, maybe you could move fairly quickly and easily. not everyone will do the same
thing. but you will see a drift away from china in order to avoid tariffs. the obvious place to look is elsewhere in the region, primarily to the south. you will also see probably faster chinese companies try to do the same thing. and i think that is one of the things the government has to worry about. that is them relocating for the same purpose. that produces potential beneficiaries elsewhere in the region as people gravitate. i think ct ttp will have the same effect over time . that is these days trade is about supply chains. and developing global valued chains. if you are going to have a regional trade agreement it is better to be inside than outside. if you are inside you can take advantage of the tariff free status of both parties.
the 11 is not as big a unit as the 12. it is still significant. japan and australia are there. it is going to get bigger in my view. there's a lot of incentive to move inside the chain. the countries that are already in will benefit from people moving. i think architecturally that will encourage other countries to join. eventually including china. that is well down the road i think. they are not stupid about this. as they see companies moving to take advantage of these rearrangements, that is something they will be thinking about. i think long-term and has architectural implications. medium-term it has clear economic implications. there are other countries in the region that will benefit. >> you mentioned political impacts and regional trade architecture. i completely agree with bill in terms of the supply chain affect and the commercially
driven supply-chain affects are one way that architecture forms. the other way is through these political agreements. i agree with bill that ct ttp will be significant and other countries will look at it and want to join. there are already a few countries that have expressed interest. we will see those discussions happen. there's another one that could have a big lyrical impact. if rsep does come online, it is 16 countries. nearly 40% of the world's gross domestic population and have the population, it is much thinner in terms of the rules and tariffs. it is fast in terms of its scope. all these countries are in the room together discussing trade rules and trade integration and that creates a mechanism to continue to have those
discussions. it creates more of a sense in the region that there are a lot of countries working together to trade, cooperation and economic integration. the united states is not in that room either. i think that could have a big lyrical conceptual impact over time as well. >> when you talk about rsep there is a question that is raised , that is about whether the provision in the new nafta that says if one of the parties starts negotiating with the non- market economy, then the other parties have a right to pull out of the agreement, subsequently not a big deal because you can pull out for other regions. others in the region are saying does that mean if we do a rsep deal that has china in it that
we will somehow be at risk? the u.s. has thrown another monkeywrench into this calculation. i'm not sure how that will affect the ultimate. i think india will be a bigger factor in whether rsep gets done or not. >> what you think about the conclusion? they say every year we will get it done this year. i heard japan might be willing to accept some lower ambitions, but india is scared? >> india has a pretty hard line on this. they are playing along and going to meetings. in practice they clearly won't sign agreement -- an agreement. they will sign a non-subsidy one or you have to throw them out. those are the options when it comes to india. >> you think after the elections
there might be more susceptibility? >> no. from there policymakers perspective, they look at trade similar to how the u.s. administration currently does, it is a broad number. imports and exports. we are driven up the wall on our trade deficit which is 2 1/2 to 3% of the gdp. india's is 8%. india has a -- 3% of india's gdp is the size of its trade deficit with china alone. the first three years of modi, he saw the trade deficit start to pinch. this last 12 months it started to increase again. it is oil which it always has been. it is metals and consumer goods, electronics and things. china is a big driver there. i don't sense postelection that changes too much. >> on japan, their top priority is to persuade the united states to come back to ct ttp.
japan is also very focused on rsep. they are willing to some degree to accept a slightly lower level of ambitions because strategically they very much support the idea of getting india into a trade agreement that includes the rest of the region. for them india is an important balancing economic partner as well as strategic importance. rsep would mean new trade agreements would come online between japan and korea where there is no trade agreement and japan and china. from a business perspective japanese trade negotiators and businesspeople really do see rsep as meaningful to create one set of rules of origin for the entire region. from the japanese perspective that is helpful for the regional production networks. >> japan is the one country that if anyone can push india into a positive mindset, it is
japan. japan is underwriting a huge chunk of india's infrastructure projects. this whole thing about helping india to become more competitive in manufacturing, agriculture is weak and manufacturing is pretty weak. if anyone can coax india and cajole india into an agreement that isn't the water yeast agreement, japan is probably the one place that can do it, but only if you're willing to play hardball and make threats. we will reduce infrastructure, we will be a less relevant partner for you in redeveloping infrastructure if you don't come into the deal. i don't know they are ready to go to the mat on that. for them the relationship is important for so many other relationships -- so many other reasons than just getting rsep done. they could probably nudge better than the united states can entrie deals with india. >> if there isn't anything more, i just want to thank
everyone for coming and think our roster of experts. really insightful discussions today. thank you for taking the time today to sit with us. as i said before we will be sending out a transcript of the event later today. please take a look at your inbox for that. if there is any reason you need to get on our mailing list, we can sort that out. thank you all for coming. they describe fully the circumstances of the assassination of president kennedy. but is there more to the story than the warren report ever discovered? this weekend on real america on
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