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U.S. aims to launch new Indo-Pacific framework as early as May

Washington plans nontraditional economic pact to boost Asian presence

The Port of Los Angeles. The new framework is designed to bolster U.S. economic ties in the Indo-Pacific but will not grant greater access to the American market.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. could launch its new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework as early as May, a key trade official said Wednesday, as Washington seeks stronger trade and supply chain ties with Japan and Southeast Asia to counter China's economic influence in the region.

"We are hopeful that in the next month or so we should be in a position ... to potentially launch" the IPEF, said Pamela Phan, deputy assistant secretary for Asia in the U.S. Commerce Department, at a two-day conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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