Says agreements must be future-proofed to allow greater ambition
Washington, D.C., October 16, 2023 – Today, the American Association of the Indo-Pacific (AAIP) released a report at the beginning of what may be the final round of IPEF negotiations in Kuala Lumpur. This report and the negotiations come at a pivotal time, as the IPEF grapples with challenges on multiple fronts—skepticism among members, the evolving nature of U.S. domestic politics, and the continued quest for tangible economic benefits.
Jackson Cox, AAIP Interim CEO, commented, "While we welcome the IPEF, there are several key areas of doubt among IPEF members that must be acknowledged and constructively addressed. These pertain to the very essence of the agreement, the uncertainty generated by U.S. domestic politics, and the aspirations for direct economic gains.
“But it's important to highlight that the current U.S. administration has fortified its commitment to the IPEF. This is a nuanced but significant shift in policy and a point of optimism."
"While the IPEF may not explicitly offer market access," Cox added, "our analysis shows that even modest trade facilitation measures can bring substantial economic benefits. Streamlined customs procedures and electronic document exchanges, for instance, have significantly reduced time and costs for exporters in other contexts."
Cox acknowledged that the key requirements for the IPEF to be considered a great success by private sector organizations like AAIP might not be met. These include commitments to address market access, broader trade liberalization, and chapters on digital trade, technical barriers, health, and intellectual property.
"However," Cox concluded, "it is critical that we can build on what is in the final agreement going into the future. The agreement must be future-proofed to adapt to evolving economic landscapes and be receptive to stakeholder input. AAIP looks forward to being an engaged and constructive stakeholder during IPEF’s implementation period."Click here to see their report www.americanindopac.com