US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has responded to skeptics of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.
In a news conference, she acknowledged that people have questioned whether the regional initiative would bring tangible benefits because it is not a traditional trade agreement with tariff cuts.
But she also went on to say, "There was an atmosphere of optimism and commitment, and we have a clear roadmap to advance the values of resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness and competitiveness for all of our economies. And the United States can advance concrete benefits for our partner countries."
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, "The IPEF embodies how we intend to move forward to bring equitable growth to our region."
Tai added that the ministerial statements demonstrate ambition and innovation.
She said, "We've got 14 different ministers representing 14 different economies who are part of 14 different bureaucracies from 14 different political landscapes, stakeholders with needs and priorities. So I think that that might be the hardest part of an exercise like this."