On September 9, 2022, the United States and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) partner countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – announced they had reached consensus on ministerial statements for each of the four IPEF framework pillars: Trade, Supply Chain, Clean Economy, and Fair Economy.
The IFEP was launched in May 2022 (see Update of May 24, 2022) to “advance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness for [the partners’] economies” by adopting “a modern economic arrangement.” At the conclusion of this ministerial meeting, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai stated, “This meeting was a chance to deepen our partnerships and fill in the details about how we will work collectively to address the challenges and opportunities that will define the 21st century.”
The formally adopted Ministerial Statements for the four pillars are summarized below, with links available to each statement:
- Pillar I (Trade) – IPEF partners will seek high-standard provisions in areas that are foundational to resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth, including labor, environment, digital economy, agriculture, transparency and good regulatory practices, competition, inclusivity, trade facilitation, and technical assistance and economic development. The IPEF partners intend to advance digital trade by building an environment of trust and confidence in the digital economy, by addressing discriminatory practices, and by promoting trusted and secure cross-border data flows. They will also seek to advance food security and sustainable agricultural practices and the benefits of good regulatory practices in supporting good governance while working towards establishing best practices for facilitating trade.
- Pillar II (Supply Chain) – IPEF partners will seek to coordinate actions to mitigate and prevent future supply chain disruptions and secure critical sectors and key products for their manufacturers. The countries will work to identify sectors and products critical to national security, economic resilience, and the health and safety of their citizens. Partners will identify sole sources and choke points in critical supply chains, and work to address them by promoting and supporting investments in new physical and digital infrastructure. The countries will use data to improve supply chain logistics and invest in new training and development opportunities to upskill workers, and will seek to ensure labor standards that underpin fair, sustainable, and resilient supply chains.
- Pillar III (Clean Economy) – IPEF partners will seek to expand investment opportunities, spur innovation, and improve the livelihoods of citizens as they seek clean energy resources and address substantial carbon sequestration potential. This effort will include climate-friendly technologies, as well as mobilize investment and promote usage of low- and zero-emissions goods and services. This work will be part of a future-oriented effort to enhance energy security and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
- Pillar IV (Fair Economy) – IPEF partners will seek to level the playing field for businesses and workers within partner countries by preventing and combatting corruption, curbing tax evasion, and enhancing transparency, recognizing the importance of fairness, inclusiveness, the rule of law, accountability and transparency. By innovating and strengthening shared approaches to implementing anticorruption and tax measures, the countries will seek to improve the investment climate and boost flows of commerce, trade and investments among their economies while advancing a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
As expected, India opted out of Pillar I (Trade) for unstated reasons but will participate in further negotiations on the remaining three framework pillars. Ambassador Tai indicated that the negotiations will next focus more specifically on developing initiatives for each pillar and will include seeking input and discussion from stakeholders, trading partners, and the U.S. Congress.