BRISBANE – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Commerce joined the first negotiating round for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in Brisbane, Australia from December 10-15, 2022. The round was hosted by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The interagency U.S. delegation was led by Sarah Ellerman, IPEF Pillar I Chief Negotiator and Assistant United States Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (Acting), and Sharon H. Yuan, Department of Commerce Counselor and Chief Negotiator.
Approximately 450 officials from the United States, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam attended the negotiating round.
Ahead of the meetings in Brisbane, USTR officials shared Pillar I (Trade) negotiating text with IPEF Partners for the following topics: trade facilitation, agriculture, services domestic regulation, and transparency and good regulatory practices. During these text-based discussions, IPEF Partners shared their enthusiasm for creating a high-standard agreement that can create sustainable and inclusive economic growth throughout the region.
In addition to text-based discussions, USTR officials held detailed conceptual discussions for the following topics under Pillar I: environment, labor, digital economy, competition policy, and inclusivity. The United States highlighted the ambitious scope of this pillar, which is detailed in the ministerial statement that was released following the IPEF ministerial meeting in Los Angeles, California in September 2022.
Before the negotiating round, the Department of Commerce shared text for Pillar II (Supply Chains) and Pillar IV (Fair Economy: Tax and Anti-Corruption), as well as a concept paper for Pillar III (Clean Economy), with IPEF Partners. Throughout the week, Department of Commerce officials led in-depth discussions of these pillars with IPEF Partners. IPEF Partners engaged in a productive exchange of ideas as they collectively seek to achieve high-standard outcomes and deliver concrete benefits to enhance the economic competitiveness of their respective economies. Following the September convening in Los Angeles, the Department of Commerce released ministerial statements for Pillars II, III, and IV.
Collectively, the four pillars that comprise the framework represent a shared vision for an open, connected, prosperous, and resilient Indo-Pacific region.
On the margins of the negotiating round, the U.S. delegation engaged a wide variety of stakeholders on recent updates and conversations with IPEF Partners. Staff from the Senate Finance Committee and the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means traveled to Brisbane and were briefed by USTR and Department of Commerce officials. USTR and the Department of Commerce will continue to provide regular updates and briefings to stakeholders and Congress as negotiations progress in keeping with our strong commitment to transparency in the development and implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s trade agenda.
The United States will continue to engage with IPEF Partners and will participate in additional in-person negotiating rounds in 2023. Additional details regarding the next in-person negotiating round will be shared at a later date.
For more information on IPEF, please visit www.ustr.gov/ipef.