The launch this week of U.S. President Joseph Biden’s new trade initiative for the region, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), which was witnessed by leaders of 13 countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was heralded as the start of a new economic bloc in the region, one which could be seen as a counter to China. The IPEF, which comprises a “baker’s dozen” of Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam, represents 40% of the world’s GDP. However, the launch of the IPEF has also been accompanied with some scepticism, not least from within the U.S., about just what it can deliver, given that officials made it clear that it is not a traditional trade deal. (Read More)
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