New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked the United States to return to a regional trade deal it quit in 2017, in the latest signal by an Asia-Pacific leader that US President Biden’s economic engagement with the Indo-Pacific region is not up to the mark.
The New Zealand leader, who is currently in the US said that the trade agreement, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), was the “gold standard” for boosting economic ties. She added that if the United States was keen on economic engagement in the region, then CPTPP was the place to do it. The Biden administration has been unwilling to return to the agreement due to concerns about U.S jobs being shipped overseas.
Arden’s US trip is aimed primarily at boosting exports and tourists as the country sets off to reopen its borders completely after more than two years of restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Ardern will be traveling to New York, Washington, DC, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle, and would hold meetings with the U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and senior officials from Twitter, Microsoft, and Amazon. Ardern, who is on a road to recovery from a recent case of COVID-19, has until now not announced plans to visit the US president at the White House, due to strict pandemic protocols.