Explained: What is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework?

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United States President Joe Biden, who embarked Friday on an East Asia trip that will see him touch down first in Seoul and in Tokyo on Sunday ahead of the May 24 Quad summit, is expected to launch his Administration’s much discussed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in the Japanese capital along with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

Biden first spoke about the IPEF at the October 2021 East Asia Summit, where he said that the “United States will explore with partners the development of an Indo-Pacific economic framework that will define our shared objectives around trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply chain resiliency, decarbonization and clean energy, infrastructure, worker standards, and other areas of shared interest”.

According to an “insight” paper on IPEF put out by the US Congressional Research Service in February, the IPEF is not a traditional trade agreement. Rather, it would include…

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