IPEF: India to join USA’s new initiative

India expressed willingness to join Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a new economic initiative led by the USA. USA clarified that the IPEF is not a free trade agreement (FTA). Thus, it neither seeks to replace the 11-nation CPTPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) nor the RCEP.

When negotiations did begin and what are the focus areas?

The negotiations for the IPEF began on May 24th, 2022. The negotiations focused on four main pillars- trade, supply chain resiliency, clean energy, and taxes.

What are the highlights of PM Modi’s speech at the launch event?

At the launch of IPEF, PM Modi said that India will work along with other IPEF countries to build an inclusive Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. He expressed confidence that IPEF will lead to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

What will be the role of IPEF?

One of the roles of IPEF in the Indo-Pacific will be to set standards for the digital economy and cross-border data flows. India has strong differences with the U.S. and its allies like Japan in this area. India’s data protection Bill makes data localization mandatory. Thus, officials from India said that they will keenly consider the negotiations on the IPEF and take a decision.

IPEF also seeks to tackle inflation through resilient supply chains, promoting investments in clean energy, and ensuring effective tax regimes to tackle money laundering and corruption.

However, IPEF’s contours are yet to be formally agreed upon. IPEF follows a U.S. plan for a Blue Dot Network, launched in 2019, which is brought to certify infrastructure projects against a set of standards.

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