Background

The Biden administration says the most recent round of negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework saw continued progress but once again divulged few details.

IPEF was launched in 2022 with the aim of strengthening U.S. ties to the region and creating “a stronger, fairer, more resilient economy for families, workers, and businesses.” Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are the current participants, and each of them except India has pledged to take part in all the initiative’s four pillars: trade (which India opted out of), supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy.

According to a joint press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce, at the fifth negotiating round held Sept. 10-16 in Thailand IPEF participants “continued to make progress on negotiations towards high-standard outcomes” on trade, clean economy, and fair economy. However, the two agencies offered no details on what that progress entailed.

Officials also continued discussions on next steps for the proposed IPEF supply chain agreement following the substantial conclusion of negotiations in May and the public release of the text of the agreement Sept. 7. Legislation recently signed into law in the U.S. allows implementation of this agreement but requires congressional approval of any further IPEF agreements (though the White House has signaled its disagreement with the latter provision).

There has been some speculation that IPEF talks could be concluded before or during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this November. However, following the most recent talks USTR and DOC said only that additional negotiating rounds are expected this year.

For more information on IPEF, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

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