President Joe Biden today announced in Tokyo that 13 countries have joined a US-led Asia-Pacific trade initiative touted as a counterweight to China’s aggressive expansion in the region.
“The United States and Japan, along with 11 other countries will launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or IPEF,” Biden said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“This framework is a commitment to work with our close partners and partners in the region on the most important challenges to ensure economic competitiveness in the 21st century,” he said.
Biden is supposed to make the official launch of the framework late Monday.
He did not specify which countries had already registered to the IPEF, which the White House defined as the framework for what would eventually be a close -knit group of trading nations.
Unlike traditional trade blocs, there are no plans for IPEF members to negotiate tariffs and facilitate market access – tools that are increasingly unpopular with U.S. voters who fear it will hurt local manufacturing.
Instead, the program envisions the integration of partners through agreed standards in four key areas: the digital economy, the supply chain, clean energy infrastructure and anti -corruption measures.
Biden has pushed for a strategic military rebuilding and a weak trade alliance under his predecessor Donald Trump since taking office in 2021.
IPEF aims to offer U.S. allies an alternative to China’s growing commercial presence across the Asia-Pacific.
However, there is no political will in Washington to return to a tariff-based Asian trade deal following Trump’s withdrawal in 2017 from the Trans-Pacific Partnership-a large trade bloc that was revived, without U.S. membership, in 2018 as a Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership -Pacific.
China has criticized IPEF as an attempt to create a closed club. Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed this, telling reporters “it is by the design and definition of an open platform”.
Sullivan said that Taiwan, a self -governing democracy that China claims sovereignty, was not included in the front lines – despite being an important link in the microchip supply chain.
However, Sullivan said that the United States is “looking to deepen our economic partnership with Taiwan, including on high -tech issues, including semiconductors and the supply chain.”
This will happen, however, only “on a bilateral basis”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)