Analysis of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity for Fiji

This paper discusses the implications of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) for
Fiji. The members of the IPEF are at different stages of development and thus the welfare gains from
the framework would vary between countries. Fiji is among the smallest economies in the IPEF and
stands to gain market opportunities for trade and investment through integration with Asia and
the United States (US). However, realising these benefits necessitates substantial reforms. The IPEF
offers potential market access, but Fiji’s private sector must comply with regulatory requirements
to trade effectively. Consequently, Fiji needs technical and financial assistance for these reforms. A
key recommendation is for Fiji to strengthen or propose an overarching IPEF development chapter
with specific assistance areas across the Trade, Supply Chains, Clean Economy, and Fair Economy
Pillars. This assistance should supplement existing aid from developed countries. If Fiji volunteers
under all four Pillars, it must request an action plan for assistance provision over time from the
developed IPEF members.

Engaging and Path-Finding: A Singapore Perspective on the IPEF

Assessments of the IPEF differ, especially considering the lack of market access, but this paper argues that the IPEF provides other avenues for more robust trade relations. The initiative provides an opportunity for the Biden Administration to re-engage with the region and vice versa. The IPEF also represents a return to a stable, open, and rules-based order with the United States (US) as the status-quo world power, an environment that Singapore has done exceedingly well in. Negotiations on key issues also complement Singapore’s efforts to pursue green, digital, and trade resilience through a combination of other bilateral and mini-lateral agreements. Ultimately, it is not an issue of choosing between the IPEF or engagement with China and other trading partners but rather about pursuing all avenues that are available with willing and enthusiastic partners.

Vietnam and the IPEF: Negotiating Prospects, Opportunities and Challenges

This paper provides an in-depth analysis of Vietnam’s economic development and its potential
participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). Vietnam is an emerging
economy in the Indo-Pacific, actively engaged in trade agreements and regional economic
integration. Led by the United States (US), the IPEF aims to foster a connected, clean, fair, and
resilient economy in the region, aligning with Vietnam’s long-term economic policies. Participation
in the IPEF offers promising prospects for addressing critical issues like supply chain diversification,
technology innovation, climate change mitigation, and green development. Vietnam’s active role
in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) enhances its leadership and influence in
the region. The paper highlights potential benefits for Vietnam’s resilient and clean economy, but
challenges like low localisation rates and resource limitations need attention. Vietnam’s participation
in the IPEF can offer support for improving competitiveness and achieving sustainability goals.
Overall, the paper provides insights into Vietnam’s economic strengths, challenges, and the
potential benefits of joining the IPEF for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Philippine Perspective on the IPEF Agreement

This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
through five parts. The first is through the identification of anticipated outputs from each of the
IPEF Pillars that the Philippines can expect from participating in the agreement. Second, the paper
then outlines the opportunities presented by the agreement by its alignment to key Philippine
development plans and trade and industry development strategies. Third, there are issues that
need to be addressed to avoid being obstructions to the IPEF negotiations and even implementation
of IPEF provisions such as muddling talks related to other discussions with the United States
(US), shifts the Philippines’ focus away from traditional bilateral Free-Trade Agreements (FTAs).
Here, data sharing challenges, and low levels of stakeholder awareness of the agreement are also
discussed. Fourth, the paper proceeds to discuss how the IPEF may affect relations with Europe.
To conclude, strategies to reap the benefits of the IPEF are presented.

The Republic of Korea and the IPEF

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) was announced as newly elected President Yoon
began a tilt towards the United States (US), endorsing it as a chance to write rules and not take
them. Extensive consultations between business and ministries ensured that each Pillar was
examined, but showed little evidence of rule writing until May 2023. The Korean Ministry of Trade
and Industry was also protesting the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Creating
helpful incentives to produce semiconductors (CHIPS) Act with the same US negotiators as for the
IPEF. Minister Ahn of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) sees opportunities to
draw the US closer to the international position especially by creating a carbon trading zone in the
Clean Economy Pillar, and played a role in the Supply Chain committee creation. Korea covered the
same issues with the Chinese on a bilateral basis ensuring that Korea was not drawn fully into any
decoupling strategy. Discussion in Korea in June showed MOTIE optimistic, but business doubtful
about the efficacy of the IPEF which could be challenged in Congress with Executive Orders which
could be abandoned by the next US President.

The EU, the Indo-Pacific and the US-led IPEF: Which Way Forward?

The paper provides a European Union (EU) perspective on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework
(IPEF). First, the recent progress made by the IPEF has given new momentum to the EU’s engagement
with the Indo-Pacific (IP) partners and to its recently launched Indo-Pacific strategy. In terms of
substance, two issues appear to be at the forefront of the IPEF as well as of the EU’s Indo-Pacific
strategy, namely supply chain resilience enhancement and various aspects of the digital economy.
There is probably scope for convergence and cooperation between the EU and the IPEF countries
on the former issue, which is addressed indirectly in different EU’s digital partnerships, while it is
the area where the IPEF has made most substantial progress. However, the differences between
the EU’s and the United States’ (US) approaches to some aspects of the digital economy may act
as stumbling blocks and give rise potentially to some form of competition in the IP region, making
cooperation on data-based efforts to enhance supply-chain resilience rather complicated.

Indonesia’s Perspective on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

This paper provides an analysis of the Indonesian perspective on joining the Indo-Pacific Economic
Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). Using official documents, other available published materials,
and conversations with several policymakers and experts, it highlights potential challenges in
the negotiation process and later in the implementation of the agreements from Indonesia’s
viewpoint. The paper argues that Indonesia sees the IPEF as an opportunity to engage with the
United States (US) in shaping common rules and standards to support regional stability. At the
same time, it wants to ensure that the IPEF agreements align with the country and the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) principles, inclusivity and complementarity. While the IPEF
is seen as an ‘empty vessel’ that could increase US-China competition in the region and threaten
ASEAN centrality and integrity, Indonesia nevertheless expects the IPEF to become a new platform
to promote the US’ economic re-engagement in the Indo-Pacific, boost regional competitiveness
and standards, and address emerging global issues collaboratively.

Thailand’s Perspectives on the IPEF

This chapter investigates Thailand’s perspective on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for
Prosperity (IPEF). It introduces different views on the Framework from the Thai government,
businesses, and civil society. The negotiation challenges facing the country and some anticipated
outcomes of each Pillar are highlighted. Thailand will likely find it difficult to partake in the IPEF
in the areas of digital economy, labour standards, environmental cooperation and anti-bribery
practices. Yet, some difficulties can be ameliorated by the other IPEF members’ capacity building
programmes. The domestic political factors stemming from the General Election (GE) in May 2023
and how they will shape the country’s implementation of the IPEF are also examined. This chapter
ends with the discussion of the prospects of engaging Europe from Thailand’s viewpoint. The
analysis finds that the state prefers to advance its economic ties with Europe via regular Free
Trade Agreements (FTAs) rather than the IPEF.

Malaysia’s Interests in the IPEF: Managing Trade Frictions and Restoring Market Access

To re-engage economically with the Indo-Pacific region, United States (US) President Biden
launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) in May 2022. For Malaysia,
the IPEF could help restore market access to the US by relaxing Withhold Release Orders (WROs)
that ban exports of companies facing forced labour allegations. Malaysia also expects that the
ease and frequency with which trade sanctions are applied in the future will be better managed as
a result of the IPEF. These potential benefits of the IPEF need to be weighed against a worst case
scenario where the creation of the IPEF further fuels US-China tensions. Another problem is that
the IPEF without China is almost economically meaningless to countries with China-centred supply
chains like Malaysia. Worse than that, any potential benefits could be more than offset if it fuels
US-China tensions leading to actions that further disrupt supply chains and trade.

IPEF: An Indian Perspective

Twelve months after the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), it
has achieved “substantial conclusion of the negotiations of a first-of-its-kind international IPEF
Supply Chain Agreement”, in one of its four Pillars. The remaining three Pillars are Trade, Clean
Economy and Fair Economy (taxation/anti-corruption). Significant progress on each of these
remaining Pillars has also been announced, raising the expectation of conclusions by the end of
this year.

This paper reflects on what the IPEF means for India. The structure of the paper is as follows: the
first part traces the principal drivers for engagement in the IPEF, both from the United States (US)
and the Indian perspectives; the second part identifies some of the key challenges for negotiation,
anticipated outcomes as well as implementation challenges for India across its four Pillars, while
dwelling deeper into the Supply Chain Pillar, which has seen substantial conclusion; the third part
is the concluding section for assessing the future evolution of the IPEF.