Speaking to Prothom Alo on Monday, Bryan Schiller, acting spokesperson of the US Embassy in Bangladesh, said the discussion on IPEF with Bangladesh, an important partner of the US in this region, has been going on since the partnership dialogue in Dhaka in March. Later, discussions were held in regular intervals in Dhaka and Washington.

He further said exchange of views on IPEF will be held in the future as well. Digital economy, graduating to eco-friendly energy and sustainable supply system has been emphasised in the new economic framework to face the economic challenges in the 21st century, Bryan added.

US President Joe Biden unveiled the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework involving 12 countries initially as he began the second leg of his debut tour of Asia.

The nations participating in the IPEF are -- Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, alongside the US, said a media release of the White House. These 12 countries generate 40 per cent of the global GDP.

The United States and our partners in the region believe that much of our success in the coming decades will depend on how well governments harness innovation — especially the transformations afoot in the clean energy, digital, and technology sectors — while fortifying our economies against a range of threats, from fragile supply chains to corruption to tax havens, said the White House release.

The US wants to include Bangladesh in the framework but the country has no previous experience of any involvement with any big economic group. As a result, the country has to proceed only after completing various internal reforms like tax system, curbing corruption etc. The big question is how much Bangladesh would agree to carry out these internal reforms
M Humayun Kabir, former ambassador of Bangladesh to the US and president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, a research firm

“This framework is intended to advance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness for our economies. Through this initiative, we aim to contribute to cooperation, stability, prosperity, development, and peace within the region,” another media release of the White House said.

With this announcement of the US President for the Indo-Pacific region, counter step of the US of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become visible, say the analysts. For long the US administration has been talking about curbing the increasing influence of China in the region.

However, Bangladesh is not clear as yet how the IPEF would work. Several diplomats told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh would take the final decision on its involvement with the framework only after understanding the nature of the forum.

M Humayun Kabir, former ambassador of Bangladesh to the US and president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, a research firm, told Prothom Alo on Monday that Joe Biden spelled the idea of IPEF in May last year. He made an announcement of the group yesterday. The US wants to include Bangladesh in the framework but the country has no previous experience of any involvement with any big economic group. As a result, the country has to proceed only after completing various internal reforms like tax system, curbing corruption etc. The big question is how much Bangladesh would agree to carry out these internal reforms, he added.

* The report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten into English by Shameem Reza

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