The first in-person ministerial meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) will conclude today in Los Angeles.
The meeting sought to build on two previous virtual ministerial meetings and is expected to generate some concrete outcomes, including a roadmap suggesting participants in negotiations for each of the four pillars of the IPEF.
U.S. President Joe Biden launched the sweeping economic initiative during his visit to Japan in May as an alternative to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a region-wide free trade agreement from which the U.S. withdrew in 2017 under the Trump administration. The new initiative is widely viewed as an American effort to counter China’s growing economic influence and reinforce the U.S. position as the leading economy across the Indo-Pacific region.
It is unlikely that the meeting will result in any formal agreements or make an immediate impact on the existing trade issues between the U.S. and the other participating economies. However, since the IPEF is a pact of principles rather than a legally binding treaty, the substance of the outcomes will impact the level of confidence among the participants about the US commitment to reengaging the Indo-Pacific in a way that would benefit not only the U.S. but their economies.
Jeremy Ma is a research analyst with Foreign Brief focusing on East Asian geopolitics. He specializes in regional security and social issues. His research interests include China’s foreign relations, cross-Strait relations, and territorial and maritime disputes in East Asia.