US will host Indo-Pacific ministers in LA as it builds Asia ties

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The US will hold the first in-person meetings with ministers from 13 Indo-Pacific nations in Los Angeles next month under its economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region.

The gathering under the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity on Sept. 8 and 9 will continue active discussions on trade, supply chains, clean energy, tax and anti-corruption, the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement Tuesday.

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In May, the Biden administration unveiled the IPEF -- the most significant US effort to engage Asia on economic matters since former President Donald Trump in 2017 withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiated under the Obama administration.

Thirteen 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.

The Pacific is a vital geostrategic region to both the US and China. For Beijing, the string of small nations are important diplomatic partners who can help its agenda in the United Nations, while the US and Australia rely on the Pacific to protect their security and trade ties.

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