Biden administration holds second round of IPEF talks in Bali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration said on Sunday that it has held a second round of negotiations for its signature Asia engagement project on topics including labor, environment, digital trade and technical assistance.

The economic initiative known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which President Joe Biden launched last May, is aimed at countering China’s efforts to expand its own economic influence in the region.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Commerce Department said in a joint release that the latest negotiations took place March 13-19 in Bali.

The meeting was the latest in what the release called an “aggressive” negotiating schedule throughout 2023.

Ahead of the negotiations, U.S. officials shared “Pillar I” negotiating text on labor, environmental, digital trade and technical assistance.

The U.S. release said IPEF partners discussed the text and held follow-up talks about other topics raised in earlier meetings in Brisbane and New Delhi.

“USTR and Commerce will release additional details about the next in-person negotiating round at a later date,” the release said.

(Reporting by David Morgan in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)