Hard to believe, but President Biden has shown stronger leadership in the Asia-Pacific on defense than on economics. His Administration had hoped to announce a skinny trade deal with allies in the region at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this week, but it collapsed amid opposition from progressives and unions.
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade deal was intended as a substitute for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that Donald Trump abandoned in one of his worst decisions. IPEF doesn’t lower tariff barriers or expand market access. But its most useful contribution would be protecting digital trade on terms similar to those negotiated with Mexico and Canada in the USMCA deal.
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