May 23, 2023: A coalition of US trade justice organisations rallied in Detroit on May 20 during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) talks there, to highlight the Ministerial Meeting for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) set for May 27. They posed the rights of workers and the planet against corporate priority for profits in IPEF.
Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a regional forum initiated by the US Biden administration mainly motivated by strategic competition with China, to secure alternative supply chains. Proponents say IPEF will strengthen economic cooperation between its participants and include high labour and environmental standards; a digital trade framework; open and predictable supply-chains, investment in de-carbonisation and clean energy and transparent tax and anti-corruption standards. See the 'Four Pillars' negotiating objectives here. IPEF does not include market access commitments like lower tariffs. The main incentives are increased investment and capacity building projects.
So far, IPEF includes the US, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Fiji and Vietnam. Other countries may join later.
The US is not part of the two big existing regional trade agreements. These are the Regional Comprehensive economic Partnership (RCEP) of the ten ASEAN countries plus five other countries, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership of 11 Pacific Rim countries (CPTPP), because of bipartisan opposition to trade deals which give increased market access to US markets. The U.S. Congress does not currently have ‘fast track’ authority which enables negotiation of trade agreements that offer tariff reductions or other access to US markets, so it will not be enforceable through trade penalties. IPEF may be a mixture of diplomatic agreements and aspirational statements.
May 18, 2022: Eight prominent Democratic Congress members have written a letter to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai expressing deep concerns about the secrecy of proposals on digital trade in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF ) negotiations.
May 4, 2023: Australians first heard about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in March 2022, but Bloomberg reports that emails released to the US public this week show that the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) was seeking the input of Amazon and Google from January 2022. The corporate lobbyists were all former USTR officials.
March 28, 2023: The summaries of US inputs at the recent Bali round of negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) reveal US pressure of the other 13 states to adopt US standards. At the same time the US Congress is yet to determine the IPEF agenda on the “digital economy”.
IPEF includes the US, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Fiji and Vietnam.
Monday March 6, 2023 : Over 400 US labor and civil society organisations have written to President Biden outlining their priorities for the pending <a href="http://aftinet.org.au/cms/Indo-pacific-economic-framework#overlay-contex... Economic Framework</a> (IPEF) trade agreement. <a href="https://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/blog/2023/03/02/403-labor-and-civil-so... letter</a> comes shortly before the Office of the US Trade Representative is expected to introduce US proposals for IPEF’s labor, environment and digital trade chapters during a key negotiating round being held in Bali, Indonesia, on March 13-19.
December 16, 2022: IPEF negotiators from 14 Indo-Pacific countries met in Brisbane from December 10-15. They include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
IPEF is a US initiative to diversify its supply chains away from China towards its allies and create US-style rules in the region. It is not a traditional trade agreement with binding commitments because the US is not offering any more access to its own markets, but relying on investment projects as incentives, especially for developing countries. The US is chairing most negotiations and pushing for quick agreements.
The Labor government’s policy on trade transparency promises more transparent and accountable trade negotiations, including access to negotiating texts and independent evaluation of costs and benefits of trade agreements.
December 9, 2022: The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a US initiative to diversify US supply chains away from China towards US allies and create US-based rules in the region.
Dr Patricia Ranald's explainer article analyses why IPEF challenges the Albanese government’s policies on trade transparency, enforceable labour and environmental standards and regional stability.
November 2, 2022: DFAT has called for submissions on the negotiating objectives of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
IPEF is the economic arm of the US economic and strategic rivalry with China in the region. The US is not part of the Regional Comprehensive economic Partnership (RCEP) of the ten ASEAN countries plus five other countries including China, nor the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) of 11 Pacific Rim countries. This is not a conventional trade agreement, as the US is not offering any market access to their domestic market.