The Trump White House is introducing regionalism as part of its new regional policy.
The president announced the initiative at a Cabinet meeting last week, and on Tuesday he signed a bill to create the Office of the Vice President for Regional and Community Affairs.
The bill lays out the administration’s vision for regionalism.
“The administration will promote the development of regional economies, promoting economic growth through collaboration and collaboration with neighboring countries,” it reads.
“This initiative seeks to build a new regional economy that will be based on the principles of self-reliance, sustainable prosperity, and shared prosperity.”
The bill is also a nod to the Trump administration and its ties to Asian countries, with the U.S. already being the second-largest donor to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
“By establishing the Office for Regional Economic Cooperation, the administration will encourage and advance regional economic cooperation and support for free trade and development,” the bill reads.
Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, also praised the administration for the regionalism initiative in a Wednesday briefing with reporters.
“It’s a great thing that this is coming out of the president’s mouth,” McMaster said.
“I think he wants to create a regional economy, but I think he has some concerns with some of the other countries that he’s supporting, including China.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Trump said the new office will “seek to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors, particularly with the South China Sea region.”
He said he is also seeking to strengthen ties with the European Union and the United Nations.
“We have been working with all the nations of the world to work toward this goal for many years, and this is one of those things that we have been doing over the last 10 years, which is the largest increase in trade and investment between any of our allies, and it’s something that I am very much proud of,” Trump said.
The administration’s regionalism plan, however, does not go far enough.
The plan still lacks the details that would be necessary to define regions and their national governments.
The regionalism office will also not have a set amount of funding to operate, and a report from the Congressional Research Service says the administration has not been able to create any meaningful policy goals for regionalists, including the establishment of regional economic zones, or establishing a regional infrastructure bank.
While the administration hopes to expand the role of regionalists in the region, some of its regionalism efforts have gone largely unaddressed by congressional Democrats, who have argued that regionalism should focus on issues like education and infrastructure.