MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Continued engagement by the United States with Asia under President-elect Donald Trump would be good for both the region and America, the head of the Asian Development Bank said Thursday.
Takehiko Nakao, who began his second term as president of the Manila-based development bank on Thursday, also said there is a strong case for regional agreements to liberalize trade and investment despite Trump's threat to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Nakao made the comments in response to questions about what would happen if Trump ends the current U.S. administration's emphasis on the region and pulls out of the TPP, which Trump called a "disaster" for American jobs.
Nakao said America's involvement in Asia has boosted the region's economic development and stability.
"It's important for the United States to continue to engage in Asia and that is good for the Asian region as a whole and it should be in the interest of the United States," he added.
The ADB chief cautioned that "it is too early to tell" what Trump's policy will be.
Leaders of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum ended their annual summit Sunday with a call to resist protectionism amid signs of increased skepticism about free trade, highlighted by Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election.
Nakao said keeping trade and investment open is key to continued growth.