On May 19, Robert Manning was quoted in an article in the Korea Times about the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

“I think the IPEF contains things that are useful and beneficial to do, particular the digital module. More broadly, ROK participation would reinforce our burgeoning US-ROK economic partnership,” Manning said. “But it must be understood that IPEF is not an ‘economic framework,’ as advertised. It is better than nothing, and economic stuff worth doing, cobbled together by the White House which saw that its Indo-Pacific strategy had a gaping hole in it that China was driving a truck through.”

Manning also raised the effects of China’s exclusion from the initiative. “With no market access or trade dimension, and by excluding the region’s No. 1 trading power and major exporter of capital, it may be counter-productive and generate an unwanted Chinese response,” he said. “It would have been far more beneficial both to U.S. interests and to the Asia-Pacific region if the U.S. simply rejoined CPTPP.”

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