The US Move to exclude China from Asian Talks
The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, stated during his Asian tour that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will grow with new participation. The fact that China was not invited to the framework, which is expected to cover 40 percent of the world economy, attracted attention.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will participate in the economic initiative aimed at reducing China’s influence in the region. While the announcement of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which has a great place in the economy, is highlighted as one of the achievements of Joe Biden’s Asia trip, 7 Southeast Asian countries will participate in the framework, along with South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, India and Japan.
Gina Raimondo, the US Secretary of Commerce, who made a press statement in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, said, “I am confident that it will bring great benefit to the US business world, especially in an environment where businesses are increasingly looking for an alternative to China.”
No Customs Discount
This agreement is considered to be the most important agreement after the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which was started during the Obama era and terminated by former President Trump. However, unlike the old agreement, the new framework does not include any customs duty reductions and it is stated that it is difficult to measure its economic benefits due to the uncertainty of which parts are binding.
Participants related to the agreement; “With this framework, we aim to make progress in areas such as resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness and competitiveness in our economies. We hope that the initiative will contribute to areas such as cooperation, stability, prosperity, development and peace in the region.”
China’s Exclusion from Framework Causes Concerns
The fact that China was not invited to the agreement was surprising. While US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that no country can declare its desire to participate and be accepted, another senior US official explained that one of the main reasons China was not invited was that it did not believe it would meet the specified criteria.
Because China is the region’s largest trading partner, many countries in the region are reluctant to sign an agreement that excludes the world’s second largest economy. The United States is still keeping the agreement open to China’s participation because it is especially demanded by some Asian countries.