Nikkei Asia | 19 May 2022
Thailand to join talks on US-led Indo-Pacific framework
by YOHEI MURAMATSU
BANGKOK — Thailand will join negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, an initiative proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden in response to China’s growing clout in the region.
Washington has been calling on regional players including Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to join the arrangement. The Thai cabinet approved Tuesday a statement notifying the U.S. of its participation in the negotiations.
Thailand looks to take part in setting the framework’s rules in four areas: trade, supply chains, infrastructure and decarbonization, and taxes and anti-corruption.
This decision to engage in negotiations is not a commitment by Thailand to join the final arrangement, its government said.
The Biden administration is expected to announce the framework’s launch during the president’s trip to Japan in late May. Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are among the countries expected to take part in the plan. But how much support the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will gain in Southeast Asia remains to be seen, given that it will not expand market access among members.