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Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

President Biden introduced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework as the centerpiece of his economic strategy toward the region. It is not a traditional Free Trade Agreement, as it does not deal with tariffs or market access.

And, in keeping with the administration’s promises of “worker-centered” trade, it excludes some of the most harmful elements of past deals, like pharmaceutical patent protections that keep medicine prices sky-high, and investor protections that empower multinational corporations to challenge public interest laws and win taxpayer money in compensation.

Three of IPEF’s four pillars have concluded, but the trade pillar is still under negotiation.

We will have to wait and see if IPEF turns out to be a new type of trade policy that uplifts workers across borders -- or if it repeats the mistakes of past “trade” deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by prioritizing corporate demands.

Big Tech and other corporate interests have been hoping -- unsuccessfully so far -- to use the agreement to lock in rules that put their profits ahead of jobs, wages, the environment, data privacy, and civil rights.