On May 23, 2022, United States President Joe Biden launched a monumental economic initiative: the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

If in Europe with Ukraine, it’s playing with throw-ins, in Asia the White House is going on the attack. The IPEF marks the return of the United States in a big way to what is now the center of global economic development: Asia. The agreement was signed by a total of thirteen participating nations, from Japan to Australia, from India to Indonesia, Korea, and Vietnam, with an open invitation for other countries to join at any time.

Together the current member nations represent a total of 40 percent of the world economy. The framework is certainly the largest diplomatic initiative of Biden’s presidency, and an obvious attempt to counter Chinese hegemony in the area.

Biden described the initiative as “writing the new rules for the 21st-century economy”, stating that the agreement would make the participants’ economies “grow faster and fairer”. According to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the framework constitutes “the most significant international economic engagement that the United States has ever had in this region”. Analysts have compared it to the Trans-Pacific Partnership which the United States withdrew from in 2017.

The four themes of the proposed IPEF are:

  • Fair and resilient trade
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Infrastructure, clean energy, and decarbonization
  • Tax and anti-corruption

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