US trade chief to visit Philippines next week
MANILA, Philippines — United States trade chief Katherine Tai will visit the Philippines next week from Sunday, April 16, until Tuesday, April 18.
The Office of the US Trade Representative announced on Friday that Tai will meet Philippines’ Secretary of Trade and Industry Alfredo Pascual, Secretary of Labor and Employment Bienvenido Laguesma, and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri during her three-day visit in Manila.
Among other items in her agenda are meetings with US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, as well as several business leaders, and union representatives.
“Throughout these meetings, Ambassador Tai will emphasize the importance of strengthening the US – Philippines bilateral trade relationship and discuss the ongoing Indo-Pacific Economic Framework negotiations that aim to create resilient, sustainable and inclusive trade across the region,” the US trade chief’s office said in a statement.
Tai will then fly to Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday, April 19, where she will meet senior officials of the Japanese government, and US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel.
The US official’s Tokyo visit will be shorter as Tai will be returning to Washington on Thursday, April 20.
According to her office, the visit to the Philippines and Japan is part of the efforts of the administration of US President Joseph Biden “to strengthen ties with key partners in the Indo-Pacific region.”
It also falls against the backdrop of flared-up tensions between US and the Philippines’ neighbor China.
The US is among the biggest international backers of democratically governed Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.