Economic Affairs

IPEF needs to be win-win, not US-centric

The framework has promise but needs incentives for countries to stay the course

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To add to AFTA, the TPP, which became the CPTPP, and most recently the RCEP, there's a new acronym in the alphabet soup of trade agreements relating to Asia: IPEF or the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which was launched in Tokyo last week.

To be precise, IPEF is not a traditional trade agreement, which typically includes mutual commitments to expand market access. But it does contain trade-related elements, such as strengthening supply chains, cutting red tape that hinders trade, improving labour standards and expanding digital trade. It also has other pillars: improving infrastructure, promoting decarbonisation and setting new rules on taxation and anti-corruption.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2022, with the headline IPEF needs to be win-win, not US-centric. Subscribe