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IPEF leaders reach substantial conclusion on critical minerals and other cooperation agendas 2023-11-17

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on November 17 that President Yoon Suk Yeol attended the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) summit on November 16, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, and attended by the leaders of 14 countries, including Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

IPEF is a cooperative system established for joint response of major countries in the Indo-Pacific region against newly emerging global trade issues like supply chain and climate change. President Yoon was among the 14 nations’ leaders that held the first IPEF summit in May 2022, thereby launching the framework and initiating negotiations on the four Pillars (trade, supply chain, clean economy, fair economy).

During the ministerial meeting held from November 13-14 prior to the leaders’ summit, representatives of IPEF member countries welcomed the tangible outcomes of having reached the “substantial conclusion” of negotiations for the Clean Economy Agreement and the Fair Economy Agreement, as well as the signing of the Pillar II Supply Chain Agreement, which was “substantially” concluded this May. These outcomes were achieved through seven official rounds of negotiations, numerous ministerial meetings and intersessional meetings spanning over 18 months. Implementation for the agreements are to be reviewed through the biennial summit meetings and annual ministerial meetings, which will be launched starting 2024.

The Leaders’ Statement on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (attached below) issued on the occasion of this summit states that ongoing cooperation through these agreements will increase the capacity to prevent and respond to supply chain disruptions, strengthen collaboration on the transition to clean economies, combat corruption, improve the efficiency of tax administration, and that the leaders will work towards a mutually beneficial Trade Pillar outcome.

It hereby announces the forming of a massive economic bloc occupying 40 percent of the world’s total GDP, and the establishment of a joint response system for addressing supply chains, clean economy and fair economy among other pending global issues.

The leaders took a step further and agreed to strengthen their cooperation and joint response capacity against future issues. IPEF will first launch a Critical Mineral Dialogue for facilitating discussions on the mapping of mineral resources, measures for expanding the trade of chemicals and machinery for the mining and smelting of critical minerals, and for enhancing the recovery and recycling of minerals through technology cooperation.

IPEF networks will also be established and managed for activating people-to-people exchanges among different countries’ experts to promote the sharing of new ideas and know-how. Starting in 2024, a working-level meeting is to be held on a quarterly basis, and results will be reported via the yearly IPEF ministerial meetings.


Leaders’ Statement on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity:


A year and a half ago, we the leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, the United States, and Viet Nam launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) to advance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness for our economies. In record time, we have delivered on our goals. 

Here in San Francisco, California, our ministers signed the first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Agreement, and substantially concluded the negotiations on a groundbreaking Clean Economy Agreement and an innovative Fair Economy Agreement. Our ongoing cooperation through these agreements will promote workers’ rights, increase our capacity to prevent and respond to supply chain disruptions, strengthen our collaboration on the transition to clean economies, and combat corruption and improve the efficiency of tax administration. Thirteen of us have made progress on and continue to work towards a mutually beneficial Trade Pillar outcome that advances workers’ rights through strong and enforceable labor standards; improves economic opportunities for families, ranchers and farmers, and micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; and promotes fair, open, and rules-based trade, accompanied by technical assistance and economic cooperation, benefiting all segments of society.    

Through these and new initiatives, we will continue to strengthen our regional cooperation and shared commitments to address emerging issues, drive innovation, and boost flows of commerce, trade, and investment across our markets. That is why, today, we are launching the IPEF Critical Minerals Dialogue to foster closer collaboration on strengthening IPEF critical mineral supply chains and boosting regional economic competitiveness. We intend to explore additional initiatives to advance cooperation and dialogue on areas of mutual interest, such as energy security and technology. We also emphasize the importance of deepening people-to-people ties and intend to promote IPEF networks to share ideas and expertise among stakeholders in order to facilitate the participation of and ensure positive outcomes for all.  

We recognize that mobilizing high-standard public and private financing, including concessional financing at an increased scale as appropriate, will facilitate investments in our supply chain resilience and clean economy transitions. We are committed to creating an investment environment that promotes sustainable development and our transition to net zero emissions economies and expands opportunities for decent work now and in the future.       

We have built IPEF to be an open, inclusive, flexible, enduring, and dynamic forum to further our shared interests, work together on critical economic issues that will drive growth now and in the future, and advance regional economic activity and integration. Our meeting today sets a new foundation from which we will continue to make progress in the months and years ahead, including through the establishment of a ministerial-level IPEF Council that will meet annually, starting in 2024, and leaders’ meetings every two years. Through our ongoing engagement and cooperation, IPEF will enhance our ability to promote workers’ rights, protect the environment, and create decent work and inclusive, sustainable economic opportunities in a future of peace, stability, development, and prosperity for all our people.