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Business News/ News / India/  India opts out of IPEF's trade pillar,will wait for final contours to be decided
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India opts out of IPEF's trade pillar,will wait for final contours to be decided

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has confirmed India's decision to not join the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework(IPEF) while waiting for the final contours to be finalised before taking a final call on association

While India was mentioned in the three IPEF statements about supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy, there was no mention of India in the ministerial text about the trade pillar (MINT)Premium
While India was mentioned in the three IPEF statements about supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy, there was no mention of India in the ministerial text about the trade pillar (MINT)

India has not joined the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework(IPEF) with the final contours of the agreement not yet finalized and broader consensus elusive on issues like environment, labour and public procurement.

Talking to the media after the IPEF conference Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said India will continue to engage with trade track in the IPEF and will wait for the final contours on the trade pillar to be decided before taking a call on the formal association.

"On one pillar which deals primarily with trade, the contours of the framework particularly, any commitments required on environment, labour, the digital trade, public procurement are certain areas in which a broader consensus has yet to emerge amongst all the nations.

"We have yet to see what benefits member countries will derive and whether any conditionalities on, for example, environment may discriminate against developing countries who have the imperative to provide low cost and affordable energy to meet the needs of a growing economy. We are also in the process of firming up our own digital framework and laws, particularly regarding privacy and data," news agency PTI quoted the minister as saying.

He said in the meantime, Indian officials will be participating in the discussions with an open mind and in the best interests of the people and businesses in India.

On the question of broad areas of concern, he said, digital trade, linkage of environment and labour to trade and possible binding commitments of any nature juxtaposed with the benefits that India will receive as a developing economy.

Goyal further added, "We believe that certain responsibilities of the developed world, the developed countries should also be an integral part of any such agreement. And that is a matter which will require deeper engagement and more consultation,"

US trade representative Katherine Tai while confirming India's decision to not join the trade pillar of IPEF said, "India is not now in the trade pillar of IPEF, Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal and I have been talking a lot. We have our bilateral structure the Trade Policy Forum, which should be meeting by the end of this year again and we covered the same issues in that bilateral channel and minister we are very close touch,"

IPEF was launched by the US and other partner countries of the Indo-Pacific region on May 23 in Tokyo. The 14 partner countries represent 40 per cent of global GDP and 28 per cent of global goods and services trade.

IPEF framework is structured around four pillars relating to trade, supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy. While India was mentioned in the three statements about supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy, there was no mention of India in the ministerial text about the trade pillar.

The Commerce minister took to Twitter to share his pleasure over the successful completion of the two-day event, he wrote, "Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity ministerial meet was inclusive & fruitful. Broad contours of future discussions have been worked out, reflecting commitment of member nations for long term engagement for free & open trade in the region"

The minister added, "Fruitful discussions have been held to bring together a group of like minded countries with shared interests. Countries which believe in fair and open trade have come together to work towards a long term engagement in an open Indo-Pacific region"

Continuing his praise, as quoted by news agency PTI, he said "Never before in such multilateral engagements has one seen such speed which shows the commitment of all the 14 countries... And I am sure, together, this group of 14 countries will define the rules of trade amongst countries which believe in fair play and transparency, rules-based trading in the future,"

Goyal had said on Friday that a robust Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) is being proposed to be presented soon in Parliament, and India will take its decisions on different aspects based on the national interest.

*With inputs from Agencies

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Published: 10 Sep 2022, 06:35 AM IST
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