Corn Refiners pleased with Indo-Pacific region progress

The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Commerce recently participated in the second negotiating round for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Michael Anderson, vice president of trade and industry affairs with the Corn Refiners Association, says the organization is pleased the administration is working to reduce non-tariff barriers for U.S. agriculture, food, and product exports in the Indo-Pacific region.

“(The Indo-Pacific Region) is one of the fastest growing regions in the world and we’re facing increasing competition as other countries solidify agreements in that region. So, we’re pleased there is activity there and we’re looking forward to getting more details on specific barriers and challenges that the U.S. government can address to open markets for our producers and exporters here in the United States.”

According to a joint news release from USTR and the Department of Commerce, topics in the negotiations included agriculture, trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, labor, environment, and more.

“Continuing conversations around agriculture and resiliency of supply chains will be very important for our sectors and our industries in the United States. I think it’s also important to note that Ambassador Doug McKalip was recently confirmed and took over the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the USTR. Corn Refiners Association and other groups have met with him and discussed some of our priorities and we know that he’s very dedicated along with other members of the delegation in the USTR team to seek solutions and advancements in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for U.S. agriculture exporters. We’re encouraged that the (negotiating) rounds are progressing and that there are substantive discussions to have other countries lower some of their barriers and work to resolve some of the issues that we face at the border and getting our products into the markets in those countries.”  

President and CEO John Bode says CRA is enthusiastic and eager for framework to be pursued, but “we also need new trade agreements. We haven’t signed a new market-opening trade agreement in a decade and the U.S. is falling badly behind our competitors because of that. So, we need to get new trade agreements signed.”

The second negotiating round took place March 13-19 in Bali, Indonesia.

In May 2022, the U.S. launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to USTR, the 14 IPEF partners represent 40 percent of global GDP and 28 percent of global goods and services trade.

The latest news release says the partners have committed to an aggressive negotiating schedule throughout 2023.

Click here for more information on the Corn Refiners Association.

Audio: Michael Anderson and John Bode

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