Indo-Pacific Economic Forum to secure region for business

13 Sep 2022


India will actively support the Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiatives for a resilient economy (supply chain), clean economy (clean energy, decarbonisation, and infrastructure) and fair economy (anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and tax), but will not be part of the ‘trade pillar’ of the US-led initiative.

Speaking at the first in-person meeting of trade ministers of the IPEF members on Thursday, US trade representative Katherine Tai stressed how the IPEF will be “a 21st century tool to tackle 21st century issues, including supply chain resilience and digital commerce”. This framework “will be a durable model for the rest of the world to follow”, Tai said. 
The IPEF is being viewed as a mechanism to counter the aggressive and non-transparent trade and economic policies of China. 
The IPEF is a grouping of 14 countries in the Indo-Pacific region, which make up over 40 per cent of the global GDP. The 14 members are Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the US.
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of a two-day IPEF ministerial on Friday, the USTR said: “India is not now in the ‘trade pillar’. However, minister (Piyush Goyal) and I have been talking and we have our bilateral and trade policy forum. I should be meeting him by the end of this year. We would cover the same issues in that bilateral channel.”
“India is not in the trade pillar right now,” Tai said, adding that doors remain open for New Delhi to join the ‘trade’ pillar later should it change its mind. 
Interacting with media on the second leg of his tour of the US, ahead of the IPEF ministerial, union minister of commerce and industry, consumer affairs, food and public distribution and textiles, Piyush Goyal said that discussions at IPEF would focus on opening opportunities for member nations to work in partnership with each other to ensure that particularly during challenges and difficult times, supply chains remain open and business and people of countries don’t suffer because of chaotic conditions like Covid and conflict.
Terming IPEF as a new and unique initiative and a partnership between rules-based, like-minded countries which have transparent economic systems, Goyal said that IPEF would work to ensure that the Indo-Pacific Region would remain secure and open for business.
Elaborating further, the minister said that discussions at the IPEF ministerial would focus on facilitating open trade, keeping supply chains open. He said that as trading relations with IPEF nations expand, investments, both from and into India, would also get a leg up. All the countries meeting tomorrow have a lot to offer each other in terms of trade, investments and technology and we will work together on all fronts, he added.  
Goyal said that US and India share a very good and strong business relationship. The US is India’s largest trading partner and many Indian companies do a lot of work for their counterparts in America. There is a lot of investment flowing from US to India, he added.
Observing that US and India are getting closer together, the minister said that the relations between the two nations were strengthening by the day through two Quads now- one with Japan and Australia and another with Israel and UAE. 2 plus 2 ministerial dialogues between India and USA are robust and vibrant and our engagements in several areas, including geopolitical and sensitive areas are expanding. The leaders of both countries, the businesses of both countries and the people of both countries are closer than ever before, he added.
Highlighting some of the milestones India has achieved in international engagement such as $675 billion worth of foreign trade despite challenges of conflict, inflation, threat of recession and pandemic and record FDI in the last eight years, the minister expressed confidence that India is and would remain a preferred trading partner and investment destination to the world, thanks to the huge market, honest government and transparent economic policies, rule of law, vibrant media and judiciary. This will improve the well-being of people of India provide jobs, thrust to economic activity and thus growth, he added.
The minister also engaged with top companies and labs of semiconductor manufacturing and research to explore greater collaboration with Indian companies. He held a meeting with Tim Archer, CEO of Lam Research.
“Building on our pool of young & skilled workforce, discussed how India in collaboration with Lam research, can provide a leading edge in semiconductor innovation”, he tweeted after the meeting.
Goyal also visited the Maydan Technology Centre and met with Gary Dickerson, president and CEO of Applied Materials.
“Deliberated on how one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies can further strengthen India's semiconductor, display and solar manufacturing ecosystems”, the minister tweeted.

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