Joe Biden will present in Japan who will join the new Indo-Pacific trade pact

US President Joe Biden is set to launch a new Indo-Pacific trade pact designed to signal US dedication to the region and address the need for stability in trade after the chaos caused by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The White House said the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will help the US and Asian economies work more closely on issues including supply chains, digital trade, clean energy, worker protection and anti-corruption efforts. .

Details still need to be negotiated among member countries, making it difficult for the administration to say how this framework can deliver on the promise of helping American workers and businesses while meeting global needs.

President Joe Biden attends a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Akasaka Palace, Monday, May 23, 2022, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The countries that will sign the framework will be announced today during Biden’s visit to Tokyo for talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. It is the latest step by the Biden administration to try to preserve and expand US influence in a region that until recently appeared to be under increasing Chinese domination.

Kishida hosted a formal state welcome for Biden at Akasaka Palace, including a white-clad military honor guard and sash in the front plaza. Reviewing the assembled troops, Biden put his hand to his heart as he passed the American flag and bowed slightly as he passed the Japanese banner.

Biden is in the midst of a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, the first Asia trip of his presidency, which concludes tomorrow. The White House announced plans to build the economic framework in October as a replacement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the United States abandoned in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.

The new pact comes at a time when the administration believes it has the upper hand in its competition with Beijing. Bloomberg Economics published a report last week projecting US GDP growth of about 2.8 percent in 2022 compared to two percent for China, which has been trying to contain the coronavirus through strict blockades and at the same time dealing with a real estate raid.

The slowdown has undermined assumptions that China would automatically supplant the US as the world’s leading economy.

“The fact that the United States is growing faster than China this year, for the first time since 1976, is a pretty amazing example of how countries in this region should look at the issue of trends and trajectories,” said National Security Advisor from the White House. Jake Sullivan said.

US President Joe Biden, center, and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walk during a welcoming ceremony for President Biden at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Critics say the framework has huge shortcomings. It does not provide incentives to potential partners by lowering tariffs, nor does it give signatories greater access to US markets.

Those limitations may not make the US framework an attractive alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which continued to advance after the US bailout. China, the biggest trading partner for many in the region, is also seeking to join. to the TPP.

“I think a lot of partners will look at that list and say, ‘That’s a good list of topics. I’m happy to be on it,'” said Matthew Goodman, a former director of international economics at the National Security Council. during the administration of President Barack Obama. But he said they can also ask, “Are we going to get any tangible benefit from participating in this framework?”

Countries may be party to both trade agreements.

Biden’s first stop today was a private meeting with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito at Naruhito’s residence on the lush grounds of the Imperial Palace before diving into extensive talks with Kishida on trade, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the North Korean nuclear threat, Both countries. ‘ Responses to COVID-19 and more.

The two leaders were also scheduled to meet with families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea decades ago. The Japanese prime minister took office last fall and is seeking to strengthen ties with the US and build a personal relationship with Biden. He will receive the president in a restaurant for dinner.

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a bilateral meeting at Akasaka Palace, Monday, May 23, 2022, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, also known as IPEF, has been heralded by the White House as one of the highlights of Biden’s trip to Asia and of his ongoing effort to bolster ties with Pacific allies. Regardless, administration officials have closely watched China’s growing economic and military power in the region.

In September, the US announced a new partnership with Australia and Great Britain. called AUKUS that is the goal and to deepen security, diplomatic and defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Through that AUKUS partnership, Australia will purchase nuclear-powered submarines, and the US will increase rotational force deployments to Australia.
The US president has also paid great attention to informality alliance known as Quad, formed during the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people. Biden and other leaders of the alliance, which also includes Australia, India and Japan, will gather in Tokyo for their second in-person meeting in less than a year. The leaders have also held two video calls since Biden took office.

And earlier this month, Biden brought together representatives from nine of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington for a summit, the organization’s first in the US capital. Biden announced at the summit that the US would invest some $212 million ($150 million) in clean energy and infrastructure initiatives in ASEAN countries.

Sullivan confirmed yesterday that Taiwan, which had sought membership in the IPEF framework, is not among the governments to be included. The involvement of the autonomous island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, would have rankled Beijing.

Sullivan said the US wants to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan, including on high-tech issues and one-to-one semiconductor supply.

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