Canada seeks to join Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Ottawa, Canada AFP

Canada, with the backing of the United States, will seek to join the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced Thursday.

At a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joly said the two countries aimed to “further align our approaches” in the Indo-Pacific.

“To further economic cooperation in the region, I’m pleased to announce that Canada will seek membership in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which is commonly known as IPEF,” Joly added.

The Biden administration launched the new trade partnership earlier this year to reinforce its presence in a region that felt cold-shouldered when Donald Trump was president.

Trump’s isolationist “America First” policy saw him yank the United States from the Asia-focused trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a move criticised as ceding ground to China in an economically crucial part of the world.

Canada is a TPP member.

Blinken said the United States would “support Canada, a fellow Pacific nation, joining this framework” and in the coming months will consult with other members on Canada’s application.

The IPEF’s first meetings were held in Los Angeles in September, bringing together the United States, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

© Agence France-Presse