Joe Biden to outline countries joining new Asia trade pact
US President Joe Biden has promised “concrete benefits” for the people of the Indo-Pacific region from a new trade pact he was set to launch during his tour of Asia.
Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday, Mr Biden said the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework would also increase US cooperation with other nations in the region.
The White House said the framework will help the US and Asian economies work more closely on issues including supply chains, digital trade, clean energy, worker protections and anticorruption efforts.
The details still need to be negotiated among the member countries, making it difficult for the administration to say how this agreement would fulfil the promise of helping US workers and businesses while also meeting global needs.
Countries signing on to the framework were to be announced on Monday during Mr Biden’s visit to Tokyo for talks with Mr Kishida.
It is the latest step by the Biden administration to try to preserve and broaden US influence in a region that until recently looked to be under the growing sway of China.
Mr Kishida hosted a formal state welcome for Mr Biden at Akasaka Palace, including a white-clad military honour guard and band in the front plaza.
Reviewing the assembled troops, Mr Biden placed his hand over his heart as he passed the American flag and bowed slightly as he passed the Japanese standard.
Mr Kishida, in brief remarks, said he was “absolutely delighted” to welcome Mr Biden to Tokyo on the first Asia trip of his presidency.
Along with Mr Biden, he drove a tough line against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying it “undermines the foundation of global order”.
Mr Biden, who is in the midst of a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, called the US-Japanese alliance a “cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific” and thanked Japan for its “strong leadership” in standing up to Russia.
The White House announced plans to build the economic framework in October as a replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the US dropped out of in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.
Mr Biden’s first stop on Monday was a private meeting with Emperor Naruhito of Japan at the emperor’s residence on the lush grounds of the Imperial Palace before the talks with Mr Kishida.
The two leaders were also set to meet with families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago.
The Japanese premier took office last fall and is looking to strengthen ties with the US and build a personal relationship with Mr Biden. He will host the president at a restaurant for dinner.
The launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, also known as IPEF, has been billed by the White House as one of the bigger moments of Mr Biden’s Asia trip and of his ongoing effort to bolster ties with Pacific allies.Published: by Radio NewsHub