Washington - Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten today issued a statement following the third in-person Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) ministerial meeting in San Francisco, California:
“Business Roundtable welcomed the Biden Administration’s initial focus on expanding trade and investment with our partners in the Indo-Pacific region. When IPEF was announced, we made clear that the level of ambition in the initiative would determine its success. With the latest IPEF negotiating round yielding minimal progress toward securing critical state-of-the-art provisions achieved in recent U.S. trade agreements, Business Roundtable believes it is time for a reset in our approach to international trade negotiations.
“High-standard free trade agreements are vital to advancing the interests of American businesses, farmers, ranchers and workers abroad. While our international competitors have forged ahead with new trade agreements, the United States has opted for initiatives like IPEF that do not secure meaningful market access or liberalization commitments. This puts American business and workers at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy.
“We are equally concerned by the Administration’s abandonment of longstanding, bipartisan U.S. trade policies, including the recent decision to withdraw support for ambitious digital trade disciplines at the WTO. For more than two decades, the United States has led the way on developing high-standard digital trade disciplines to protect the competitive edge of innovative American companies. By withdrawing from these disciplines, policymakers are ceding leadership over digital trade rules and undermining our economic and national security interests.
“The U.S. economy will struggle to grow without expanding trade and economic relationships based on terms that reflect American values. Business Roundtable encourages the Administration to return the United States to its traditional role as the global leader in enforcing and expanding high-standard trade agreements, which include strong digital trade provisions.”