USTR Tai to Visit Japan from Wed.

AP file photo
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai

WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will visit Tokyo for two days from Wednesday, the USTR office said Thursday.

She is expected to hold talks with trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and other senior Japanese officials mainly to confirm their countries’ cooperation toward an early agreement on the envisioned Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or IPEF, an economic bloc of 14 countries including Japan and the United States.

Tai will visit Japan as the United States’ top trade negotiator for the fourth time.

This year, Japan holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven major powers, while the United States presides over the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

In all of the fora including IPEF, how to strengthen supply chains is a key issue. Tokyo and Washington are expected to discuss how to enhance their cooperation to lead work to set international rules on the matter.

Both countries will host important international talks in May. In the Japanese city of Hiroshima, a G-7 summit will be held from May 19, while in the U.S. state of Michigan, meetings of APEC trade ministers and minister-level officials of the IPEF members will take place around May 25.

The United States aims to achieve an agreement on IPEF around the time of the APEC summit slated for November.

President Joe Biden’s administration is boosting U.S. cooperation with allies and partner nations to reduce his country’s dependence on China.

A senior member of the USTR office expressed confidence that Tai’s upcoming visit to Japan will contribute to strengthening the two countries’ relations on the trade front.

Before her trip to Japan, Tai will visit the Philippines, also an IPEF member country, for three days from Sunday.