Pledging “a new era of trilateral partnership,” the leaders of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea announced a range of expanded collaboration efforts this week, including on economic issues. While many observers see the enhanced partnership as targeted at China and North Korea, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said it “is not against anyone … it is for something;” specifically, “a vision of the Indo-Pacific that is free, open, secure, and prosperous.”

At a meeting at Camp David outside Washington, D.C., the three countries announced a commitment to consult with each other in an expeditious manner to coordinate responses to regional challenges, provocations, and threats that affect their collective interests and security. Toward this end they plan to “launch a new commerce and industry ministers track” that will meet annually to complement meetings among leaders, foreign ministers, defense ministers, and national security advisors that will also be held at least annually.

With respect to trade, the three countries plan to launch a pilot early warning system to (1) expand information sharing and enhance policy coordination on possible disruptions to global supply chains and (2) better prepare themselves to confront and overcome economic coercion. The White House noted that this effort will enhanced existing trilateral cooperation on supply chain resilience, particularly on semiconductors and batteries, as well as on technology security and standards, clean energy and energy security, biotechnology, critical minerals, pharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and scientific research. Similar early warning systems are already in place with the European Union and under consideration as part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

The three partners also plan to enhance cooperation to prevent cutting-edge technologies from being illegally exported or stolen abroad. To that end they will conduct inaugural exchanges between the U.S. Disruptive Technology Strike Force and Japanese and Korean counterparts to deepen information-sharing and coordination across enforcement agencies. They will also continue to strengthen cooperation on export controls to prevent their technologies from being diverted for military or dual-use capabilities that could potentially threaten international peace and security.

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