IPEF Ministerial Talks to Be Held in Detroit May 27

WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that member states of the envisioned Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity will hold a ministerial meeting in Detroit on May 27.

It will be the first time for ministers of all 14 IPEF member countries, including Japan, the United States and India, to get together since September last year, when the ministers declared the official launch of negotiations.

Amid the growing importance of economic security, the United States, which leads the IPEF initiative, aims to forge an agreement on the strengthening of supply chains.

The IPEF was launched during Biden’s visit to Tokyo in May last year as a framework countering China.

In a statement regarding the upcoming Detroit meeting, the U.S. government said that the gathering is “an important milestone in IPEF negotiations, as it will mark one year since the framework was officially launched.”

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in the statement, “I look forward to hosting trade ministers in Detroit as we build on this momentum and negotiate a 21st-century trade framework that addresses today’s pressing challenges.”

Also in the statement, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said she hopes “to continue the progress” that has been made in IPEF negotiations and “deepen cooperation in the region” on shared economic priorities.

Trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura is expected to attend the Detroit meeting.

Nishimura previously said, apparently with the upcoming ministerial talks in mind, that the IPEF member states are advancing negotiations with the aim of laying out some kind of direction about the envisioned economic framework.

The Japanese trade minister said that the IPEF will play a very important role in efforts to enhance cooperation with Global South emerging and developing countries, many of which keep distance from Russia and China.

The IPEF was proposed by Biden also as an alternative framework to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement among 11 countries including Japan. The United States walked out of the TPP framework in 2017 under the administration of then U.S. President Donald Trump.

Under the IPEF, basic rules will be established in the four areas of trade, supply chains, clean economy, and tax and anticorruption in order to correct overdependence on the Chinese economy in light of economic security. The framework does not aim to lower tariffs.

This year, the United States presides over the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The IPEF ministerial meeting will be held in time with a conference of APEC trade ministers planned to be held in Detroit on May 25-26.

Washington aims to realize an agreement in at least one of the four areas of IPEF negotiations at the Detroit meeting and secure accords for all four by the time of the APEC summit in November.