Last week, the United States launched the creation of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an effort by the current administration to improve U.S. ties with the region which the White House said aims to strengthen U.S. ties in the Asia-Pacific region. The IPEF effort is to also limit China’s influence in the region as China has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The initial IPEF members include: Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. While Taiwan is absent from the initial 12 member list, the U.S. claims they will work on a separate bilateral agreement with Taiwan on trade and economic affairs.
According to the press release, the goals and purpose of the IPEF include:
- digital economy and e-commerce, including cross-border data flows, data localization, online privacy, and discriminatory and unethical use of artificial intelligence
- labor and environment issues and corporate accountability
- supply chain resiliency, including establishing an early warning system, eliminating bottlenecks in critical mineral supply chains, improving traceability in key sectors, and coordinating on diversification efforts
- accelerated implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
- facilitating agricultural trade through science-based decision-making and sound, transparent regulatory practices
- clean energy, decarbonization, energy efficiency standards, infrastructure, and methane emissions
- enforcement of effective tax, anti-money laundering, and anti-bribery regimes that include provisions on the exchange of tax information, criminalization of bribery in accordance with UN standards, and effective implementation of beneficial ownership recommendations
The participants will meet later in June to work out the details that will ultimately need Congressional vote and approval. More information about the IPEF will be posted as they become available.
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