US to host virtual meeting on Tuesday of Indo-Pacific trade, economic ministers

President Joe Biden launched the IPEF in May on a trip to Tokyo. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States will host a virtual meeting on Tuesday (July 26) of officials representing the 14 countries that have joined the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), as Washington seeks to expand its engagement with Asia.

The ministerial meeting will be hosted by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, their offices announced in a statement on Sunday.

President Joe Biden, who launched the IPEF in May on a trip to Tokyo, wants to use it as a way to raise environmental, labour and other standards across Asia.

Washington has lacked an economic pillar to its Indo-Pacific engagement since former president Donald Trump quit a multinational trans-Pacific trade agreement, leaving the field open to China to expand its influence.

In addition to the United States, the IPEF members comprise Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Topics for discussion at Tuesday's meeting include trade, supply chains, clean energy, infrastructure, taxes and combating corruption, the statement said.

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