2020 Indo-Pacific Business Forum Promotes Free and Open Indo-Pacific
The third annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum took place online and in Hanoi, Vietnam on October 28-29, 2020. It showcased high-impact private-sector investment and government efforts to support market competition, job growth, and high-standard economic development for greater prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
The Forum promoted the United States’ vision of the Indo-Pacific as a free and open region composed of nations that are independent, strong, and prosperous. Over 2,600 business and government leaders from the United States and across the Indo-Pacific region participated.
Utilizing an innovative combination of a virtual conference platform and limited in-person events in Hanoi to mitigate the health risks associated with travel and large assemblies, the 2020 Forum enabled safe and productive commercial and diplomatic engagement despite the pandemic.
Panel discussions highlighted key themes including:
- Energy and Infrastructure
- The Digital Economy
- Market Connectivity
- Health and Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
- U.S.-Indo-Pacific Partnerships and Commercial Opportunities
- Women’s Economic Empowerment.
The U.S. officials and business executives highlighted a range of commercial deals and new initiatives, including:
New U.S. Deals in Indo-Pacific
- Since the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum in July 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with other U.S. government agencies, has facilitated $37.6 billion in FDI from the region into the United States supporting an estimated 50,000American jobs, and assisted 4,122 Indo-Pacific clients considering investments in the United States. During the same period, the U.S. Department of Commerce assisted over 12,000 U.S. companies active in the region and supported an estimated 1 million American jobs.
- The United States, Australia, Japan, and Palau announced on October 28 that they are moving forward with the financing for the construction of an undersea fiber optic cable to the Republic of Palau which will ensure reliable, secure digital connectivity in Palau. The project, valued at approximately $30 million, will connect to a new undersea cable financed by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. That cable will be the world’s longest, spanning from Singapore to the United States. This marks the first project delivered under the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific between the United States, Australia, and Japan. U.S. Government financial support for the cable connection project comes from U.S. Department of the Interior Compact Funding, USAID, and the U.S. government’s Transaction Advisory Fund.
- U.S. firm AES Corporation and PetroVietnam Gas aim to go forward with the proposed $2.8 billion Son My LNG import terminal and power plant. The agreement will open the door to billions of dollars of annual U.S. LNG exports to Vietnam.
- India has received $20 billion of foreign investment this year from U.S. companies including Google and Amazon. In July, Google pledged to commit $10 billion in India to accelerate adoption of digital services in the key overseas market. In January, Amazon announced a $1 billion investment in digitizing small and medium businesses, allowing them to sell and operate online.
- USTDA announced its growing commitment to smart cities in India by funding a feasibility study in support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ National Urban Innovation Stack – a cutting-edge smart city tool to drive innovation, data-driven governance and capacity building across more than 100 Indian smart cities.
- USTDA also announced grant funding for technical assistance to fundamentally transform the way Ho Chi Minh City manages its daily operations through advanced data analytics.
- USAID in Vietnam announced the launch of the Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program II (V-LEEP II). This five-year, $36 million program will accelerate Vietnam’s transition to a clean, secure, and market-driven energy system.
- Mastercard established Mastercard Academy 2.0, a flagship program that will provide essential digital knowledge and skills to 100,000 Indonesians by 2023 – including schoolchildren, young adults, entrepreneurs and mid-career professionals – to help them thrive and actively participate in Indonesia’s digital transformation.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Thailand Ministry of Finance highlighted the Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure Finance and Market Building Cooperation. This cooperative initiative is designed to support infrastructure development through market-oriented, private sector investment.
NOTE: this is NOT the complete release.