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.  

IPEF Pillar 2 Supply Chain agreement JSCOT inquiry: submissions due June 5

May 16, 2024:  The Indo Pacific Economic Framework Pillar 1 Supply Chain agreement was signed by 14 Indo-Pacific countries in November 2023, following release of the text in September.

This agreement has now been tabled in Parliament and will be reviewed by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties for 20 Parliamentary sitting days before reporting in September or October.

The committee has called for submissions by Wednesday, June 5. The text of the agreement and the DFAT National Interest Analysis is at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/IPEFSupplyChain/Treaty_being_considered

AFTINET comments on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Supply Chain text

September 9, 2023: Negotiations for this text were completed in May and the text was released on September 8. The text may be signed in November 2023, after which it will be tabled in Parliament and reviewed by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. It could come into force in the first quarter of 2024.

The 14 IPEF members are the US, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Fiji and Vietnam. Three other pillars on trade, environment and tax and anti-corruption issues are still being negotiated.

US Trade justice campaigners press IPEF talks on labour rights, environment, digital

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.

The morning was dedicated to workshops on trade agreements and the fight for global justice, APEC and Southeast Asia, what Big Tech wants the world to look like, the struggle for human rights in the Philippines, food justice, and trade deals and global climate justice. The afternoon was a march for jobs and justice through downtown Detroit to the APEC Ministerial at Hart Plaza.

‘Business as usual’ mining practices for critical minerals threatens to undermine Indigenous peoples’ rights

9 October, 2023: Last week the Philippine Supreme Court ordered two mining companies to cease operations at a nickel mine and ordered concerns raised by the Pala’wan Indigenous community be addressed. The Pala’wan community have fought since 2005 against plans to mine nickel in an environmentally protected area of cultural significance.

Critical minerals, such as nickel, lithium, cobalt, copper and rare earths, are essential for technologies needed for a green transition, such as wind turbines, electricity infrastructure and batteries. However, the boom in demand and rush to mine has led to concerns that critical mineral mining will continue the association of extractive industries with human rights violations, particularly for indigenous peoples.

IPEF negotiations: Maori demand direct representation and comprehensive protections for rights of Indigenous peoples

19 October, 2023: Despite requests, Māori Indigenous peoples have said in the recently released Ngā Toki Whakarururanga position paper that they that they have been denied direct independent sovereign representation in negotiations in the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum negotiations that are currently underway.

IPEF supply chain deal signed but trade pillar not completed

November 15, 2023: Trade Ministers from the 14 countries of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) who met this week in San Francisco have signed an agreement to improve supply chain cooperation, known as IPEF Pillar 2. Reports indicate IPEF heads of government may announce on Friday that the environment and anti-corruption pillars have made progress, and that talks on the trade pillar may continue. However, there is uncertainty about whether IPEF negotiations will continue during the US presidential election campaign next year. 

IPEF environment and tax/anti-corruption agreements completed but text not released: enforceability not clear

November 20, 2023: As reported last week, the 14 members of the of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) did not meet the target of completing all of its four pillars at the IPEF Ministers meeting in San Francisco on November 16-18.

Instead, negotiations were delayed for Pillar I on trade, which is like a mini trade agreement, over disagreements on regulation of digital trade and the enforceability of labour and environment standards. The text of Pillar II on supply chains had been released in September, and that agreement was signed on November 16. See AFTINET’s preliminary analysis here.

Media Release: Community groups ask ALP government for public consultation as US launches Indo-Pacific Economic Forum

May 24, 2022: US President Joe Biden yesterday launched the Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), involving the US, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Others may join later.

IPEF is an initiative of the US Biden administration mainly motivated by strategic competition with China in the region, and by US domestic politics. 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.

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