Community Organisations seek strong human rights, labour rights and environmental standards in IPEF

May 26, 2023: AFTINET has coordinated a letter endorsed by 28 community organisations expressing concerns about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations taking place in Detroit this weekend.

IPEF is a US trade initiative to diversify supply chains away from China. It is not a traditional trade agreement offering market access, but aims to improve human rights, labour rights and environmental standards in the region.

The wide range of organisations includes environment, union, church, aid and development, human rights, public health and other community organisations, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, Amnesty International, the Australian Education Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Oxfam Australia, the Sisters of Charity and the Public Health Association of Australia.

The organisations are seeking more transparency, strong enforceable  human rights, labour rights and environmental standards and retention of government rights to regulate the rapidly changing digital domain in the public interest.

There is pressure from the US to complete the negotiations by November, and that is a danger that these standards will not be met.  US Congress members have also criticised the secrecy of the negotiations.  They have also criticised the Big Tech companies’ IPEF agenda for deregulation of data flows and digital trade that could prevent governments from regulating to protect consumer privacy and cybersecurity, and from curbing the ability of unregulated Artificial Intelligence to produce deep fake news,

The full letter with endorsements is here.