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U.S. farmers welcome the framework of the Indo-Pacific economy

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Illinois farmer Brian Duncan priced his crops, especially the thousands of pigs he raises each year.

"Pork is in great demand in Asian countries, the Pacific Rim," he explained to VOA in a recent interview outside the animal-care hut. "I was really looking forward to the opportunities to sell pork to that part of the world."

But the TPP is politically for both Democrats and Republicans. It became a problem, eventually moving away from trade agreements, and some voters believed it would have a negative impact on US manufacturing. When Republican Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, the hope of passing the TPP was over.

"Part of the role of the TPP was to counter China's growing economic influence and position the United States as a positive force in the region," Duncan said. "These countries have moved forward without us, they have left us in trade."

Former US Senator and former Ambassador to China Max Baucus in Montana. I also agree.

"When we withdrew from the TPP, we really abandoned leadership and created a big gap in Southeast Asia," said Baukas, now co-chair of the free trade advocacy group Farmers. Said during the attendance of. An online conference on the Biden administration's efforts to involve Asian countries in new trade negotiations. "It's important to establish an economic counterweight for China. It's important. That was the point of the TPP."

Mark Gebhaz, Government Secretary-General of the Illinois Agricultural Department, said. "We have urged the Biden administration to do more in terms of building true market access," he said.

Gebhards is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) for Biden's prosperity with 12 Asian countries: Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Said Vietnam — a welcome development that could boost US agricultural exports.

"The benefit to us is to increase market access in very important countries that are very enthusiastic and very interested in our produce. For our farmers. There are direct benefits here for our members, "he told VOA in an interview at Illinois Agricultural Administration Headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois.

"Speaking is great. It's a great first step, but we conclude more real trade agreements, especially considering the Ukrainian conflict and everything that is happening in the world today. I really feel that I need to .. The Indo-Pacific framework, it is important to be careful, it is not a trade agreement with these 12 countries involved in it. It is because it actually sits down and talks about trade issues. It's not a negotiation, especially in a bilateral approach with these countries, which will lead to trade agreements. "

Duncan said," Something Better than nothing. That's what I'm working on. 60% of the world's population will be in these Indo-Pacific countries. "

The White House states that the 12 IPEF countries also account for about 40% of the world's GDP.

However, Duncan is aware of the limits of current negotiations. "This is just a framework. We hope to provide a mechanism for moving forward and building. Looking at this framework, we will answer at least one question. Give up on multilateral agreements in the Pacific Rim. Not. I think it's good news. I hope it's the beginning and the dialogue takes place. Based on this, multilateral agreements are not evil, they can work and the past. "

While waiting and expecting trade negotiations to turn into trade negotiations, Duncan sees IPEF as a meaningful change in US trade policy.

"I think there is once again a recognition of hope and the importance of international trade."