AAIP releases IPEF recommendations as Bangkok negotiations begin

Bangkok, September 11, 2023 — Today, the American Association of the Indo-Pacific (AAIP) has released a pivotal report during the ongoing trade negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in Bangkok. The report calls on the United States and its Indo-Pacific partners to ensure the IPEF agreement commits to long-term trade and economic engagement well into the future.

Jackson Cox, the Interim President of AAIP, stated, “The United States is at a crossroads. As we realign our trade policy toward reshoring and domestic investment, the IPEF agreement offers a unique opportunity for enhanced economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. However, this is not a traditional trade agreement, it’s a framework for economic cooperation, and all parties need to ensure the agreement makes a principled commitment to liberalization going into the future.”

The report highlights the recent completion of the framework’s supply chain agreement and that this now has real potential to reduce the vulnerability of supply chains across the Indo-Pacific. “The supply chain agreement is a landmark development,” said Cox. “However, it’s absolutely vital that the private sector plays a strong role in the agreement’s administration. It’s the private sector that knows what works and doesn’t when moving goods across borders.”

One of the report’s key points is that an IPEF agreement lacking disciplines and norms in areas like digital trade, express shipments, and trade facilitation will not support U.S. enterprises operating in the Indo-Pacific. “Without a strong agreement, the U.S. will be at a disadvantage compared to major economies like the European Union, China, and India, who all either have or are upgrading and negotiating new agreements across the region,” Cox added.

The report also emphasizes the need for U.S. negotiators to provide IPEF partners with assurances on the agreement’s longevity beyond U.S. political changes. “For the IPEF to be a success, we must commit to futureproofing the agreement, its implementation, and secretariat functions,” said Cox.

The AAIP urges all stakeholders to consider these key points as negotiations move toward November’s meeting of APEC leaders, where the U.S. government is hoping to make major announcements on the IPEF agreement.

Download the Report Here