U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the United States plans to launch an economic framework with its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region early next year.
The top U.S. trade negotiator was speaking in an exclusive interview with NHK during her visit to Japan on Thursday.
Tai said the United States faces challenges from China, adding that “we must defend the interests of our economy, and also work with our partners and allies, with whom we share interests.”
Tai said it would be difficult for the United States to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, saying the deal was negotiated “five, six, seven, eight years ago.”
She added that “right now we really need to focus on the challenges we are facing.”
Tai also said the United States plans to launch a framework early next year with those in the Indo-Pacific region who share challenges.
This is the first time she has said when the framework will be launched.
The United States apparently expects the framework to be a tool to compete with China in the region.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo is also on tour in Asian countries, including Japan. The trips are seen as part of the United States’ efforts to strengthen cooperation with its allies and friends in the Indo-Pacific, as China expands its influence in the region.