The Department of Commerce announced Nov. 15 the launch of the Japan-U.S. Commercial and Industrial Partnership, which will “strengthen the competitiveness, resiliency, and security” of the two countries’ economies. The DOC said the partnership will enable deeper cooperation on efforts to strengthen supply chains, including for semiconductors and 5G components; export controls, including those needed to protect critical technologies; addressing market-distorting measures and unfair trade practices in other countries; and promoting innovations such as digital technologies.

The partnership was announced during a visit to Japan by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who also discussed cooperation in developing an Indo-Pacific economic framework. According to press reports, Raimondo said this framework “could be even more robust in some ways than the traditional free trade agreement.”

President Biden announced plans for the framework several weeks ago in the face of increasing Chinese engagement with Asian economies, including its expressed interest in multilateral free trade agreements with them, but to date there have been few details about what the framework might include. Raimondo is also expected to discuss the framework with her counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore in the coming days.

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