WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Joe Biden is taking new steps on global trade. He announced a partnership on Tuesday with a dozen other countries in the Indo-Pacific.
The president painted an optimistic vision for the new Indo-Pacific economic framework.
“Signing up to work towards an economic vision that will deliver for all people,” Biden said.
Susan Aaronson is an international affairs professor at George Washington University. She says right now, the framework is really just ideas, not substantive commitments.
“A framework that nations have agreed to discuss further. But that’s all we have, and that’s a big maybe,” Aaronson said.
The framework outlines plans for the 13 included countries to discuss possible rules for digital goods, supply chain commitments and clean energy goals.
“This framework should drive a race to the top among nations in the Indo-Pacific region,” Biden said.
Without binding rules, Professor Aaronson says the framework won’t have much impact on trade or the American economy. Instead it just signals to markets that the nations are trying to find common ground.
“We can model until the cows come home. But it’s not a fact. Nobody knows what impact it will have,” Aaronson said.
Even so, she believes the framework is a positive step by the Biden administration.
“Trying to act in a creative way to set rules, but it is hamstrung by Congress which is unwilling to move a trade agreement forward,” Aaronson said.
In Congress, many lawmakers say they are focused on immediate trade and supply chain problems that are driving higher costs. Sen. Marsha Blackburn wants to see the Biden administration get tougher on China.
“China should be held to account to uphold the trade deal that is currently in force,” the Tennessee Republican said.