US needs 'business pivot' to Southeast Asia, expert says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 20) — An expert urged the United States to up its economic game in Southeast Asia a year after President Joe Biden took office.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Final Word, Curtis Chin - Milken Institute of Asia fellow and former US ambassador to the Asian Development Bank - said the Biden administration now needs a "business pivot" to the region.

According to Chin, the US - a long-time ally of the Philippines - has been focusing more on addressing its domestic challenges since 2021. That meant not enough attention to Southeast Asia, he added.

Chin said "Southeast Asia is such an important region, but when we look at the US-China rivalry...China has upped its game," specifically in terms of trade deals, and economic and regional cooperation it forged with different countries.

"There is so much that the United State can do more in Southeast Asia," he emphasized.

The Western superpower should "rethink opportunities to engage in the area of trade, whether its digital trade, services," Chin said.

He also recommended that the US nominates new ambassadors in Southeast Asian countries since they will be drivers of American policy in the region.