There is a widespread need in many developing Asian countries for a surge in investment in some of the countries’ most basic infrastructure. CNN recently reported that developing Asian nations are in need of about $26 trillion in infrastructure investment through 2030 to rebuild power grids, transportation and sewage. The concern for the U.S. government is that other states are stepping up to the plate to invest in these countries. China is currently the most prominent force in helping other Asian countries with their infrastructure needs. This could be a bit unsettling for the world economy because China could significantly increase its influence over these countries and their exports.
The U.S. is in a tough spot when considering whether to increase aid to these countries because it could be viewed as an aggressive stance by China. This is especially true if the U.S. decides to team up with other countries, such as Japan, to ease the financial burden. President Trump is also in a challenging position because he campaigned on the promise of “America First” in terms of any spending initiatives. It is difficult to explain to the average voter how supporting a sewage line in India will help U.S. interests abroad when there are public schools that lack basic air conditioning in the U.S. One option is to promote U.S. investment in foreign infrastructure as a way to create a larger market for the export of U.S. goods. This could also boost jobs for U.S. manufacturing in the future.