The United States and 13 other countries engaged in Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks set the stage Tuesday for their leaders to agree on ways to promote environmentally friendly and fair commercial activities -- meaning almost all areas of President Joe Biden's signature initiative are nearing completion.

As part of efforts to encourage the use of clean energy, the countries participating in the U.S.-led framework confirmed at a ministerial meeting in San Francisco that they will establish a fund, with Australia, Japan and the United States vowing to chip in $10 million each in seed money, officials said.

Japanese trade and industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters that "very big progress" was made on the specifics of how to improve measures relating to the use of clean energy and anti-corruption.

After the two-day meeting, Nishimura said the results will be reported to the nations' leaders and finalized at a meeting between them, which is due to take place in the U.S. city on Thursday.

Ministers from 14 nations, including Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (7th from L) and Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura (8th from L), pose for a photo as they gather for their second day of talks on the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework initiative in San Francisco on Nov. 14, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Biden launched the initiative, known as IPEF, in Japan in May 2022, as his administration seeks to counter China's increasing geo-economic clout.

The 14-member framework, not including China, is also intended to restore U.S. leadership in the world's fastest-growing region after Biden's predecessor Donald Trump pulled out of the more ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal in 2017.

Since IPEF members entered talks in September 2022, they have been working toward the creation of common rules and standards across four pillars -- trade, supply chains, clean energy and infrastructure, and tax and anti-corruption.

The officials said sharing high-level commitments to protecting the environment and combating tax evasion will help further attract investment to the region and spur economic growth.

The ministers were unable to narrow differences on some trade issues on the first day of the meeting on Monday but they agreed to continue discussions among senior officials in pursuit of a substantive agreement shortly.

The countries struck a deal on steps to strengthen supply chains in May and they signed an accord on Tuesday, which is set to take effect at the end of this year at the earliest after legal procedures are completed, the officials said, adding that the remaining sectors of the framework, besides trade, are now expected to follow a similar time frame.

Biden and the leaders of other IPEF countries, including Japan and South Korea, plan to meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

The leaders will endorse what has been achieved and details will be announced, with the release of a joint statement being considered, the officials said.

The announcement will likely be made by Biden a day after he holds his first in-person meeting in a year with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday to also attend the APEC summit.

Nishimura said the Indo-Pacific is a major "growth center of the world" and Japan and its "reliable partners" will benefit from IPEF agreements.

IPEF's other members are Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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