By David Lawder
DETROIT (Reuters) – Trade ministers from 14 countries in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) discuss “essentially complete” negotiations on a deal to make supply chains more resilient and secure , US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said on Saturday.
The ‘first of its kind’ agreement calls for countries to form a council to coordinate supply chain activities and a ‘crisis response network’ to provide early warning to IPEF countries of potential supply chain disruptions. supply, Raimondo said at a news conference following a ministerial meeting in Detroit. .
The agreement provides an emergency communication channel for IPEF countries to request assistance during supply chain disruptions, coordinate more closely during a crisis, and recover more quickly.
Raimondo cited semiconductor shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down U.S. auto production, idling thousands of workers.
“I can tell you, I would have loved to have had this crisis response network during COVID. It absolutely would have helped us secure American jobs and keep supply chains moving,” she said.
The Commerce-led supply chains agreement marks the first tangible outcome of a year of IPEF discussions. But this is only one of the four “pillars” of the IPEF talks.
The other pillars – trade, climate transition, labor and inclusiveness – are more complex and are expected to take longer to negotiate.
The supply chains agreement also includes a new labor rights advisory council aimed at raising labor standards in supply chains, made up of government, labor and employer representatives, the department said. Trade.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)