US-led IPEF member nations launch official negotiations

by IANS |

Seoul, Sep 11 (IANS) South Korea and 13 other member nations of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) have agreed to begin official negotiations to boost regional economic cooperation facing multiple economic challenges, according to Seoul's Trade Ministry.

Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun and his counterparts from the IPEF member nations agreed on Friday to start the formal rule-setting talks on the four key pillars of fair trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and green technology, and tax and anti-corruption, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The platform has 14 members -- South Korea, the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Fiji, Yonhap news agency reported.

The agreement was made following the two-day ministerial meeting held in Los Angeles last week, co-hosted by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

US President Joe Biden launched the economic framework in May, which is widely seen as his government's effort to counter China's growing influence in the region.

"The components of the trade pillar will promote a race to the top for all, strengthen our supply chains and spur cooperation that supports durable growth," Tai said on Friday during the closing press conference.

South Korea will take part in talks on the four pillars and will push for various projects with member nations in the related fields to maximise national interests within the framework, according to the Ministry.

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