US Trade Chief Hopes for Formal Indo-Pacific Convening by Summer By Bloomberg

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© Reuters. US Trade Chief Hopes for Formal Indo-Pacific Convening by Summer

(Bloomberg) — The US is working toward a formal gathering of members of the administration’s new economic initiative in Asia by the summer, President Joe Biden’s trade chief said.

“Over the course of the next couple of weeks, what we will be doing is doing deeper dives, answering questions, putting out more details to our vision,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said. “A very, very important part of this listening to our partners. I am hopeful that by the summer, we will have a more formalized convening” of countries participating in the US’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. 

Tai spoke on Monday at an event hosted by the Washington International Trade Association.

The Biden administration unveiled the IPEF — designed to counter China’s influence in the region — in May. Fourteen nations so far having signed up to join the US in an effort to advance resilience, fairness, and competitiveness, but the initiative doesn’t include any tariff reductions.

“For the moment, we have taken the tariff cuts off the table so that we can look at what other tools we have,” Tai said. “no one is that focused on tariff cuts as it is and that kind of next-generation conversation is one that is tremendously important and one that also needs to be promoting resilience and sustainability.”  

Biden’s team is weighing what to do with former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on about $300 billion of goods imported from the China, the US economy’s biggest rival. While some businesses have benefited from the tariffs protecting them from Chinese import competition, companies that use the goods as inputs in areas including manufacturing have been hurt. 

“What is really important for the Biden administration is to bring a thoughtful, strategic and deliberate approach to how we manage this relationship overall,” Tai said. “That is reflective of one of the most important responsibilities we have right now, which is to figure out how to get this relationship right, and nothing about this relationship is easy.”

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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