The U.S. has announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) with Asian partners, including Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, to raise its economic profile and create another counterbalance to China.
CNBC writes that the group wants to set international rules on the digital economy, supply chains, decarbonization, and regulations applying to workers.
Notably, the IPEF is not a free trade agreement. Biden faces political pressure from both the left and right in the United States to avoid free trade deals.
It is also not a security pact and is separate from the Quad defense group, including the U.S., Japan, India, and Australia, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told.
Biden is in Tokyo this week, meeting regional leaders about the IPEF and the Quad.
The United States needs “enhance its economic competitiveness in the region,” according to Ali Wyne, a senior analyst with Eurasia Group’s Global Macro practice.
U.S. officials have avoided mentioning China in discussions about the IPEF and have denied that it’s a “closed” group, as China has claimed.
Chinese state-controlled media outlet Global Times said, “the main goal of Biden’s trip to South Korea and Japan is to form a new political posturing against China by establishing an alliance around Washington in the Asia-Pacific region.”
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