Thailand negotiating Indo Pacific Economic Framework

Thailand has agreed on parameters for negotiations with 13 other countries to establish the U.S.-led Indo Pacific Economic Framework, which aims to build better trade, economic and environmental ties and cooperation among its members.

The announcement came after Ministers and high-level officials from the 14 countries met in Los Angeles last week. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that the Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) would boost investment and jobs in the partner countries.

In some ways for the U.S., the IPEF replaces the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A decade ago, President Barack Obama initiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but the U.S. withdrew from joining or approving the pact under his successor President Donald Trump.

The IPEF will have four central “pillars” that the 14 countries agreed to negotiate: trade, including data flows and labor rights, supply chain resilience, green energy and environmental standards, and anti-corruption and tax measures. The agreement will not include tariff cuts that are the bedrock of traditional free trade deals.

The Framework will include Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam. Together, the 14 countries account for approximately 40 percent of global gross domestic product.

Thailand is an export-oriented economy that also relies on investment. The Kingdom avidly supports and pursues free-trade agreements. Agreeing and adhering to common standards for the environment, good governance, taxation and labor rights while also building supply chain resilience would benefit the Kingdom’s economic progress and competitiveness.

President Joe Biden launched the initiative in May, saying he wanted to put workers at the heart of the economic agenda and pursue more equitable and sustainable growth.

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