WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday pledged to deepen U.S. ties with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries, including advancing fair and open trade as well as investment in the region, and urged action to shore up the environment and global health.

“Biden reaffirmed our interest in serving as a strong, reliable partner to APEC economies as we pursue sustained and inclusive growth,” and “discussed ways to unleash the economic power of the region and to deepen U.S. economic engagement throughout the Indo-Pacific,” Biden said in a White House statement following his remarks to the APEC leaders’ meeting.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)