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PM Modi says India will work with Indo-Pacific partners to make IPEF more inclusive and flexible

by Shailee Mishra

Date & Time: May 24, 2022 10:00 AM

Read Time: 3 minute


• President Joe Biden of the United States is in Tokyo
• Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity will be launched by 13 countries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India will work with the US and other partners to establish a "inclusive and flexible" Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, as the country joined a new US-led trade initiative aimed at countering China's aggressive expansion in the region.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced at a news conference in Tokyo that 13 countries will participate in the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or IPEF.

PM Modi described the unveiling of IPEF as a declaration of a collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region a global economic growth engine in his remarks at the launch event.

He thanked Biden for the "important initiative" and stated that common and creative solutions to the region's economic challenges are required. In Hindi, Modi said, "India will work with all of you to establish an IPEF that is both inclusive and flexible."

Strengthen the three pillars of progress, peace and prosperity

The foundations of resilient supply chains, according to him, are trust, transparency, and timeliness. "I believe the framework will contribute to the strengthening of these three pillars, putting the Indo-Pacific region on the road to progress, peace, and prosperity," he said.

Modi stated that the Indo-Pacific region has always been a hub for manufacturing, economic activities, trade, and investments, and that India has always been at the centre of regional trade flows. He noted that Lothal, in his home state of Gujarat, is home to India's oldest commercial port.

The event in Tokyo marked the start of IPEF discussions. Aside from Biden and Kishida's presence in person, the leaders of Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam all participated virtually in the event.

Aim and goal of IPEF

IPEF aims to strengthen economic partnerships among participating countries in the Indo-Pacific, with the goal of improving resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

Partner countries will begin discussions focusing on strengthening economic cooperation and achieving shared goals with the launch of the IPEF process today, according to the ministry.

India believes that deepening economic engagement among partners is critical for continued growth, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

"India is eager to work with partner countries under the IPEF to advance regional economic connectivity, integration, and trade and investment within the region," the ministry said.

The IPEF is a "commitment to working with our close friends and partners in the region on challenges that matter most to ensuring economic competitiveness in the twenty-first century," according to Biden.
According to US officials, the IPEF is an open platform that other countries can join as the initiative progresses.

Members cannot negotiate tariffs or market access

IPEF members will not negotiate tariffs or market access, unlike traditional trade blocs. Following former President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in early 2017, the framework is seen as an attempt by the US to reclaim its economic credibility (TPP).

IPEF will bring together partner countries through agreed-upon standards in four key areas: the digital economy, supply chains, infrastructure and clean energy projects, and tax and anti-corruption measures. Partners can pick and choose modules without having to sign on for all four pillars, and the framework will prioritise flexibility and inclusion.

Also Read:  Economy to bring down prices, Modi government aims to lower taxes on edible oils

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