DETROIT—Ministers from the United States, Japan and 12 other Indo-Pacific nations will agree at their meeting Saturday in Detroit to bolster supply chains for chips, medicine and other critical items in the event of an emergency under a U.S.-led economic initiative, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.
The enhanced supply chain resiliency will be the first agreement among 14 member countries of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, representing 40 percent of global gross domestic product, and could help counter China's economic influence in the region.
Supplies of food, energy and key industrial products, such as semiconductors, were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine.
The IPEF partners, also including Australia, Indonesia, India, South Korea and Thailand, aim to respond to emergencies more promptly, ensuring the procurement of vital goods and sharing of information, under a new scheme, according to the sources.
The U.S.-led initiative covers four pillars -- fair trade, supply chain resilience, clean energy and proper taxation and anti-corruption -- and is also regarded as a symbol of the world's biggest economy's reengagement in the fast-growing region after its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal in 2017.
Russia and China, which are deepening their economic and security partnership amid increasing tensions with the United States and other countries, are not part of the IPEF.
On Thursday, trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region opened a two-day meeting in Detroit ahead of the IPEF ministerial meeting to discuss ways to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, even as the rift over Russia's war on Ukraine hampers efforts to boost regional cooperation.
The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum include Russia and China, and whether the ministers can find common ground on key issues remains unclear. The United States, chair of this year's forum, aims to compile a joint statement at the conclusion of the meeting.
Also on Thursday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met in Washington and had "candid and substantive discussions on issues relating to the U.S.-China commercial relationship," the U.S. side said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES