Biden Administration Seeks Input on Negotiating Objectives for Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) each requested comments on negotiating objectives for the Biden administration’s proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (“IPEF”). For businesses with economic interests in the region, this is an excellent opportunity to connect with the agencies responsible for negotiations.

By way of background, on October 27, 2021, President Biden announced that the United States would explore the development of an economic framework with partners in the Indo-Pacific region. In February, the administration released a more detailed strategy for the region, which identified several areas of focus for the planned economic framework, including promoting and facilitating trade, developing rules to govern the digital economy, improving supply-chain resilience and security, catalyzing investment in infrastructure, and building digital connectivity. The administration’s vision for such a framework is something short of a free trade agreement. Given that trade promotion authority lapsed in July 2021 and has not been renewed, this would presumably allow the administration to achieve their goals without formal approval of the Congress.

The Office of the USTR is responsible for negotiations related to “fair and resilient trade” and is specifically seeking comments on:

  1. General negotiating objectives for the IPEF;
  2. Labor-related matters;
  3. Environment and climate-related matters;
  4. Digital economy-related matters;
  5. Agriculture-related matters;
  6. Transparency and good regulatory practice issues;
  7. Competition-related matters;
  8. Customs and trade facilitation issues; and
  9. Other measures or practices, including those of third-country entities, which undermine fair market opportunities for U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.
The Commerce Department is responsible for negotiations concerning supply chain resilience, infrastructure, clean energy, and decarbonization, and tax and anticorruption and is specifically seeking comments on the following issues:
  1. General negotiating objectives for the IPEF;
  2. Digital and emerging technologies related issues;
  3. Supply chain resilience-related issues;
  4. Infrastructure-related issues;
  5. Clean energy-related issues;
  6. Decarbonization-related issues;
  7. Tax-related issues; and
  8. Anti-corruption-related issues.
The agencies’ Federal Register notices are available here and here. The deadline for submitting comments to each agency is April 11. Stay tuned to Kelley Drye’s Trade and Manufacturing Monitor for additional developments.