Engaging Asia 2012

Strategies for a Shift toward the Asia-Pacific

The 112th Congress faces an array of complex challenges to U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific. Yet at the same time, closer trading ties and improving relationships enable new opportunities for engagement.

These conditions are augmented by the Obama administration’s decision to strategically refocus toward the Asia-Pacific, setting the stage for a series of critical decisions in Congress on U.S. trade policy, intellectual property, and military posture, among other issues. Given the growing importance of Asia to U.S. objectives overseas, it is vitally important for policymakers to understand the transformations underway in Asia and the implications for American strategic, economic, and diplomatic interests.

With this in mind, The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) hosted “Engaging Asia 2012: Strategies for a Shift toward the Asia-Pacific” on April 18, 2012. This half-day conference assembled high-level experts from government, academe, and the diplomatic community to offer insights into the key elements that the United States must consider to sustain its focus on Asia.

Event highlights included remarks from Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa on America’s intent to strategically rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific and two in-depth panel discussions examining U.S. trade strategy in the region and the TPP, and defense resourcing needs for a shift toward the Asia-Pacific.


WELCOME AND KEYNOTE ADDRESS: The Role of Congress in America’s Strategic Rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific

Richard Ellings, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Senator Slade Gorton, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, U.S. House of Representatives

PANEL ONE: U.S. Trade Policy in the Asia-Pacific and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Edward Gresser, ProgressiveEconomy

Ambassador Mike Moore, Embassy of New Zealand

PANEL TWO: Rebalancing America’s Military toward the Asia-Pacific

Thomas Mahnken, U.S. Naval War College

Michael O’Hanlon, The Brookings Institution


Prepared Remarks by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (PDF)

About the Participants

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She represents Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.

David Bisbee is Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific and Deputy Lead Negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Angela Ellard is House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director.

Edward Gresser is the Director of ProgressiveEconomy.

Thomas Mahnken is Jerome E. Levy Chair of Economic Geography and National Security at the U.S. Naval War College and a Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Ambassador Mike Moore is the Ambassador of New Zealand to the United States. He is a past Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where he oversaw the launch of the Doha Development Round, and a former Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Michael O’Hanlon is Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Michael Schiffer is Senior Advisor and Counselor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Prior to assuming this role in February 2012, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia.