HomeUnited KingdomConversation: Minister for the Indo-Pacific conversation at Asia House: January 2023

Conversation: Minister for the Indo-Pacific conversation at Asia House: January 2023

Making the UK’s Indo-Pacific strategy into a clean, economic and security reality, is certainly partly achieved, of course , by businesses creating strong connections and achieving mutually beneficial partnerships, whilst they capitalise on all the UK provides – from the City of London, to our world class universities as well as our luxury brands. The UK government is actively supporting a pipeline of investment into business collaboration across a variety of sectors, which includes of course R& D. A year ago the first UK-Singapore bilateral R& D call was launched, along with £5 million pounds associated with Innovate UK funding. Over fifty joint proposals had been received, ninety projects are being funded, supporting businesses throughout all parts of the UK. The united kingdom recognises ASEAN countries’ dedication to maintain peace and success across the region, because that is how business and prosperity can thrive. We are dealing with Australia and the USA, to bring world-leading submarine technology towards the Australian Navy through the AUKUS partnership, which will support their particular regional defence and security capabilities and commitments. So how are we doing this in practice? One of the first actions of our ‘tilt’ was to secure ASEAN Dialogue Partner position, and we have now agreed our own Plan of Action. So nowadays, I really want to reaffirm the UK’s ongoing commitment towards the Indo-Pacific region, highlight – I hope – some of the successes and explore the particular ways in which Government and business can work more closely jointly. We are the first European country to accede to the Comprehensive plus Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – first off, are you impressed – CPTPP, pertaining to friends. This will not only give us access to a partnership with a joint GDP of £9 trillion, and eliminate tariffs on 95% of all goods traded, but we will also be able to share the legal expertise and our other professional services to help shape future trading guidelines. The recently agreed Global Combat Air flow Programme, between the UK, Japan and Italy, will also press technological boundaries to deliver the next generation of fighter aircraft. This partnership will swimming pool the expertise of our three countries to deliver cutting edge defence technology. With G7 partners, we want to support ASEAN and other countries to develop the future facilities that they need. To help achieve this, we have opened a new British International Investment regional center, the UK government’s development investment decision arm, in Singapore. Via it we intend to invest up to £500 million in the region over the next 5 yrs.   BII will acquire investors in the region to help these types of economies reduce emissions, safeguard the environment and adapt to weather change. So building these stronger partnerships in this region, is a top government priority, initial set out, you will have noticed, within our 2021 Integrated Review. The new Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary are currently relaxing this whole of authorities framework, which will set out how our Euro-Atlantic and our Indo-Pacific economies and security are inextricably bound together. Much of the innovation in these areas will come from the Indo-Pacific area, which is why the UK Government is really keen to strengthen the collaboration across science, technologies and R& D. Certainly one of our most successful collaborations is the Serum Institute’s relationship with Oxford University and AstraZeneca. As well as unlocking entry to 5 million Covid vaccines in the UK, it has led to a great investment of £50 million in Oxford Biomedica and the opportunity to deliver their ground breaking Wechselfieber vaccine, with the potential to save millions of lives. This is particularly important when we look to the current and future challenges of governance designed for artificial intelligence, the use of data and cyber security. We have new electronic economy agreements with Singapore and Japan, making it simpler for our companies to work together on tech initiatives plus co-operate more closely in IT and telecoms. For example , building on recent successes such as Rakuten’s decision to build a brand new 5G facility in the UK. Thanks Stephen, Michael, I am so very happy to be here at Asia Home today. I was recalling that I thought I’d been right here before, and then realised that I’d only been right here virtually, so it’s beautiful. I’m sorry for those of you who are virtual but it’s wonderful to be actually here – the sense that we may gather once again and really share our thoughts and the function that you’re doing. At a personal level, it makes such a difference. UK environment change partnerships are mobilising billions of pounds in eco-friendly finance, including the UK’s Environment Action for a Resilient Asian countries Programme, which will support as much as 14 million people to adjust to climate change. So to ensure we are able to strengthen our resilience, plus protect our security, we need to strengthen our partnerships along with likeminded states. The Indo-Pacific is home to many who are – like the UK – committed to territorial integrity, freedom through economic coercion, and the open market. China remains extremely important to the UK both being a trading partner and in tackling global challenges such as weather change. But we are very clear eyed on the need to react to those systemic challenges which China may pose to the values and interests. I re-negotiated world class, modern and expansive free trade agreements and two new ones with Australia and New Zealand last year, and are trying to conclude an FTA along with India. We are also supporting Vietnam and Philippines, to deliver on their net-zero aspirations, through the Just Energy Changeover Partnerships. Since the International Trade Secretary, I promoted UK trade and investment and built business deals as frameworks designed for businesses. Now, as Minister for the Indo-Pacific I have the particular wonderful role of helping to smooth the road ahead so that you can forge these connections, both in the UK and across fantastic region. If rules, rules or political decisions are getting in your way, I am here to help. The opportunity that our UK-ASEAN cooperation offers for UNITED KINGDOM business is vast. ASEAN as a bloc is competitive in manufacturing and our UK economy is highly contrasting given the strength of our financial services. Innovation and collaboration also are imperative for tackling the largest issue facing us all: climate change. The Indo-Pacific can be on the frontline with many littoral communities threatened by rising seas, typhoons and large numbers at the mercy of drought. The UK is definitely proud to be a global head and convener on weather. Our businesses and universities are innovators and makers of renewable and lower carbon services. We have got obviously a phenomenal panel this morning, so many incredible experts plus leaders around the world. We have a unique plus compelling offer to the region, thanks to the skills, products and networks of our people, our companies and our institutions. We are determined to maximise their impact and delivery to achieve our shared ambitions in the Indo-Pacific, and weave strong local ties to create a secure plus prosperous future for our children and generations to follow. Therefore let us do all we are able to together to make them proud of the choices and commitments all of us make today to protect their world. Thank you. We believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific. All declares have the right to ensure their sovereignty. So competition must be managed in a way that minimises stress between great powers plus doesn’t spill over straight into conflict. As 60% of global shipping passes through the Indo-Pacific, and more than half of global growth is projected to come from the region by 2050 – though perhaps the report will tell me something even more impressive compared to that – the UK must have her strategic focus facing the region. The appalling, illegal invasion of Ukraine has underlined the particular interconnectedness of Europe and the Indo-Pacific, as brutally demonstrated by the global impact of the conflict on energy plus food prices.


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