IPEF to find ways of ensuring uninterrupted supply chains: Piyush Goyal

LOS ANGELES: The first in-person ministerial meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) scheduled to start here on Thursday is expected to tackle the issue of supply chain disruption as witnessed during Covid due to over-dependence on one country – China. Launched by US President Joe Biden this May, the 14-members of IPEF include India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
India’s union commerce minister Piyush Goyal, who is in the US for attending this meet, said: “This is a collective grouping of like-minded countries where the rule of law prevails to tackle issues like ensuring there is no supply chain disruption in the future so that businesses and people don’t suffer. It will also discuss taxes and anti-corruption measures. The effort will be to bring people and countries together to ensure uninterrupted flow of goods and services. It will expand business ties between like-minded countries which do not indulge in opaque business practices. The idea is to remain secure and open for business at all times.”
The new economic bloc was formed as a result of the severe supply chain disruption seen during Covid due to the massive dependence on China. The White House, in a statement this May while announcing the formation of IPRF, had said in a statement: “We will seek first-of-their-kind supply chain commitments that better anticipate and prevent disruptions in supply chains to create a more resilient economy and guard against price spikes that increase costs…. We intend to do this by establishing an early warning system, mapping critical mineral supply chains, improving traceability in key sectors, and coordinating on diversification efforts.”
Similarly, IPEF aims to “seek commitments to enact and enforce effective tax, anti-money laundering, and anti-bribery regimes… to promote a fair economy. These will include provisions on the exchange of tax information, criminalisation of bribery in accordance with UN standards, and effective implementation of beneficial ownership recommendations to strengthen our efforts to crack down on corruption.”
Unlike trade agreements, IPEF does not look for providing greater market access. Its four pillars are: connected economy (trade), resilient economy (supply chains), clean economy (green tech), and fair economy (anti-corruption). While ambassador Katherine Tai-led US Trade Representative (USTR) will focus on trade, US department of commerce secretary Gina Raimondo will lead the other three verticals.
Goyal said there is no areas of concern between the US and India as the latter is our largest trading partner. “US and India are getting closer by the day. Business, people and leadership of the two countries are closer than ever before.” He expects IPEF to lead to expanded trading ties between the member countries.