Tokyo, May 23 (EFE).- The United States, Japan and 11 other countries of Southeast Asia and Oceania on Monday jointly announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a new regional cooperation mechanism aimed at boosting trade and investment among the members.
The economies that have joined the pact account for 40 percent of the world’s GDP, consisting of Australia, Brunei, South Korea, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, apart from the US and Japan.
“We share a commitment to a free, open, fair, inclusive, interconnected, resilient, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region that has the potential to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” the IPEF leaders said in a joint statement.
“We acknowledge our economic policy interests in the region are intertwined, and deepening economic engagement among partners is crucial for continued growth, peace, and prosperity,” added the bloc, established on Washington’s initiative.
US President Joe Biden unveiled the new multilateral platform during his first Asia visit while in office, during which he visited South Korea before arriving in Japan on Sunday.
Biden’s trip is centered on deepening economic and security cooperation in the backdrop of the growing influence of China.
One of the main areas of cooperation for IPEF would be safeguarding supply chains of strategic importance, such as raw materials and semiconductors, as availability has been affected by the coronavirus impact in China and the Ukraine war.
The members of the framework pledged to improve the “transparency, diversity, security, and sustainability” of their supply chains, while coordinating crisis response measures and expanding cooperation to mitigate the impacts of disruption, according to the statement.
In terms of trade, the IPEF aims to establish high common standards and trade commitments to boost economic growth with dividends for both workers and consumers, especially focusing on the digital arena and other industries.
Another of the common objectives is to back the development of clean energy, decarbonization and infrastructure development, for which financial resources would be mobilized, while technological assistance and cooperation would also be improved.
The 13 countries also pledged to promote fair competition through robust fiscal measures and cracking down on money laundering, while working together to boost cooperation in other areas too.
The IPEF left the door open for the addition of additional allies from the Indo-Pacific who share the same goals, interests and ambitions and back a flexible approach as the functional basis to achieve tangible results. EFE