USCIB submitted comments this week on the trade aspects of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a new Biden Administration initiative to engage regional partners on economic and trade priorities. U.S. officials do not envision the IPEF to produce a traditional trade agreement, but to instead achieve better harmonization and liberalization in the areas of trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure, decarbonization, tax and anticorruption.
USCIB members welcome the initiative and seek ambitious results. With a population of 1.5 billion people, 62 percent of world-GDP and 46 percent of the world’s merchandise trade, the Indo-Pacific region offers significant market potential for American companies and the millions of workers they employ.
“We urge the Administration to pursue a substantive agreement with concrete outcomes, common standards, and strong rules that are enforceable and binding,” said USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and China Alice Slayton Clark. “An affirmative economic strategy in the Indo-Pacific is critical to advancing U.S. economic and strategic interests.”
USCIB’s comments emphasized the importance of free market principles, particularly in the wake of COVID-19: “As the world rebounds from COVID-19, the United States can contribute to an inclusive, even and robust recovery with stronger trade engagement in the region, a goal made more urgent today as democracy, rule of law and free market principles come under challenge. The IPEF must strengthen U.S. relationships in the region, create more resilient supply chains and ultimately make U.S. allies less vulnerable to China’s economic coercion.”