Biden Revives TPP With New Indo-Pacific Trade Agreement

The New American
May 25, 2022

In his relentless quest to undo everything accomplished by his presidential predecessor, Joe Biden has taken another major step backwards: resuscitating the former Trans-Pacific Partnership trading bloc (TPP), which President Trump torpedoed in 2017. In the five years since the United States exited the TPP, the People’s Republic of China has not been idle, launching its own Pacific Rim trading initiative, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, just five months ago.

Enter the TPP 2.0, or Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a 13-nation accord scheduled to be ready for signing within a couple of months. The new IPEF will join the United States with India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, a bloc accounting for roughly 40 percent of the world’s entire economy. After considerable uncertainty, Taiwan was not invited to join, but the United States intends to negotiate a separate trade deal with that island republic. The People’s Republic of China was pointedly not invited, although it may be drawn into the deal sometime in the future.

As to the purpose of the new Indo-Pacific trade bloc, its official goals include mitigating the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. According to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, “IPEF is a 21st Century economic arrangement designed to tackle 21st Century economic challenges.”

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