According to the U.S. Inernational Development Finance Corportation (DFC), leaders from the U.S.’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the Australian Government announced a trilateral partnership to invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on July 30, 2018.
The trilateral partnership to invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region aims to build infrastructure, address key development challenges, increase connectivity, and promote economic growth.
OPIC President and CEO Ray W. Washburne, JBIC Governor Tadashi Maeda, and Australian Embassy Chargé d’affaires Katrina Cooper issued the following joint statement on the trilateral partnership:
"OPIC, JBIC, and an agency of the Australian Government have formed a trilateral partnership to mobilise investment in projects that drive economic growth, create opportunities, and foster a free, open, inclusive, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We share the belief that good investments stem from transparency, open competition, sustainability, adhering to robust global standards, employing the local workforce, and avoiding unsustainable debt burdens.
"We will uphold these principles as we mobilise investment in infrastructure, such as energy, transportation, tourism, and technology that will help stabilize economies, enhance connectivity, and provide lasting benefits throughout the region. To deepen this trilateral partnership, we are currently developing a framework for cooperation. OPIC is also placing a representative in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
"As we look to the future, this partnership represents our commitment to an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, and prosperous. By working together, we can attract more private capital to achieve greater results."
At the U.S. Chamber event, the three aforementioned participants announced future plans for a formalized trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and OPIC announced the placement of a staff member in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to better facilitate cooperation.
Japan has committed to advancing sustainable infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific, and OPIC is coordinating with Japanese partners on co-investment under two bilateral MOUs signed in November 2017 last year. OPIC signed a similar MOU with Australia in February 2018.
On July 17, 2018 in Singapore, OPIC convened the first trilateral meeting to discuss coordination on infrastructure investment, formalizing the trilateral partnership, and holding continuous dialogues to enhance collaboration.
OPIC currently has $4 billion invested across the Indo-Pacific in projects that are expanding access to energy, education, and financial services and supporting local farmers.
The first project being delivered under the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific is the Palau Cable 2 project, to construct the second subsea cable in Palau and connect it to a US-Singapore trunk cable, i.e., the Echo subsea cable system.