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Singapore welcomes U.S. 'high-ambition' trade engagement in Asia

But USTR Katherine Tai says framework needs to 'defend' American interests

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is pitching a new Indo-Pacific economic framework that includes labor and environmental protections.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the city state Tuesday to discuss the Biden administration's proposed "high-ambition" Indo-Pacific trade framework, but not an American return to an 11-nation Pacific trade bloc.

Rather than rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, as many countries in the region have called for, the U.S. is preparing to launch a new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that promises high labor and environmental standards, open cross-border data flows and secure supply chains.

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