Free and Open: India to decide on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework based on national interest

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Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal at India-US Strategic Partnership Forum, in San Francisco on Tuesday. (ANI Photo/Piyush Goyal Twitter)

Union Minister Piyush Goyal visit San Francisco and Los Angeles to attend the first IPEF ministerial meeting; meets US Trade Representative Katherine Tai

Our Bureau
San Francisco/New Delhi

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Friday said that a robust Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) is being proposed to be presented soon in Parliament, and India will take its decisions on different aspects based on the national interest.

Goyal said that India is a big provider of technology services to US companies and a robust framework is being proposed to be presented to Parliament soon. “India is looking to have contemporary and modern laws in the digital world while maintaining high levels of data privacy,” he added.

He said that within the framework, “we can begin engaging among member countries on different areas of mutual interest. India will take its decisions on different aspects of the IPEF framework based on our national interest.”

“We had a useful engagement among member countries of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. Officials have worked to prepare the ground for useful interactions between ministers. By tomorrow we hope to create a robust framework,” Goyal said.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal is on a six-day visit to San Francisco and Los Angeles to attend the first Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) ministerial meeting. Goyal met US Trade Representative Katherine Tai ahead of the meeting. “I’ve also had the opportunity to have bilateral discussions with USTR Ambassador Tai and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Both were very excited about the good work happening between India and US,” Goyal said.

“They were extremely favorable to expanding ties in trade and investments including hi-tech areas. They were also wishing to further resilient supply chains between India and US,” he added.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Thursday said that Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) presented an opportunity to deepen the partnerships with member countries and will also address the challenges collectively.

She said that the IPEF also allows working together to build a platform to address future challenges and bring sustainable and equitable growth to the Indo-Pacific region.

“While we all are dealing with economic challenges, the IPEF and our meeting over course of the next two days present us with an opportunity to deepen our partnerships and work collectively to address these challenges,” Ambassador Tai said ahead of the discussions. She further said, “The IPEF also allows us to work together to build a platform to address future challenges and bring sustainable and equitable growth to the Indo-Pacific region.”

Ambassador Tai recalled the IPEF’s initial time, when it was launched in May, and said that the framework was based on shared priorities and values including combating climatic change, protecting labor rights and building resilient supply chains and we have made a lot of progress.

“We are here in person to continue our momentum to fill in the details of our shared vision on issues like digital economy, labor, environment and agriculture and trade facilitation,” she added.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) was launched jointly by the USA and other partner countries of the Indo-Pacific region on May 23, 2022, in Tokyo. India is committed to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific Region and would work towards deepening economic cooperation among partners for the growth and prosperity of the region. The framework is inclusive and allows flexibility to partner countries to associate with pillars based on their respective priorities, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

IPEF, a group of 13 countries, is a multilateral economic framework. In recent times, India is seen as focusing on bilateral free trade agreements instead of multilateral ones.

The focus is on creating a resilient supply chain that can protect businesses – and jobs – in the future by avoiding over-reliance on one country (read China) through clean and green practices in the IPEF member countries.

US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo said, “It is time for the US to have an affirmative economic vision for the region. The 14 member countries represent 40% of the world’s GDP and include some of the fastest growing economies in the world. We have to address challenges related to supply chain, climate change and create a roadmap for cooperation. We have to move quickly to save small businesses and jobs through resilient supply chains, clean energy tech and fair economies by eliminating corruption. We have to create jobs in our countries. There is no limit what we can do together.”

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