India must ensure that negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) do not limit its domestic policy options to promote a self-reliant India in areas such as green products. This is what business experts have said. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) is a US-led initiative. Its purpose is to negotiate rules to meet the challenges of the 21st century and promote fair and sound trade. US President Joe Biden launched IPEF in May 2022. It has 14 members.
IPEF’s 14 partners account for 40 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product) and 28 percent of trade in goods and services globally. The framework revolves around trade, supply chain, clean and fair economy. International trade expert Abhijit Das said the IPEF talks are being held in secrecy and very little information is available on the public platform.
He said this is different from normal Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, in which all parties are involved in negotiations on all issues. Member countries have a choice on which matters they want to negotiate. India is out of the trade deal, while remaining in the three. So far three rounds of talks have taken place. The last round of talks took place on 19 March. Das said the actual impact of the rules under IPEF would depend on the details and terms of the final agreement. However, many indications suggest that IPEF has been created by America for its own prosperity.
There is probably not much scope for participants from developing countries, he added. Das urges Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal to instruct India’s negotiators to ensure that the IPEF outcome does not impact its domestic policy choices to promote a self-reliant India in areas such as the digital economy and green products .
Another trade expert Vishwajit Dhar said the US has held extensive consultations with its companies to come up with the draft IPEF and India should also hold wide-ranging discussions with various stakeholders on all the topics covered in the talks.
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