Biden Administration Stands Up for Labor and Environmental Standards in IPEF

Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) praised the Biden administration’s decision to conclude the U.S.-hosted Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) Leaders Summit in San Francisco this week without concluding any portion of the Trade Pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

“The Biden administration’s insistence that effective labor and environmental terms be a central part of any IPEF trade pillar is the right strategy for maintaining negotiating leverage and ensuring that the interests of working people and the planet remain a top priority,” said CTC Executive Director Arthur Stamoulis.  “We continue to urge that no part of IPEF’s trade pillar be enacted unless and until parties agree to strong labor, climate and other environmental provisions backed by swift-and-certain enforcement mechanisms with meaningful, facility-specific penalties for violations.”

He described the administration’s decision to hold off on advancing the Trade Pillar without until strong labor and environmental terms are agreed to as “another indication that old-model trade agreements are over and that the debate moving forward is about what new policies will replace them.”

CTC is likewise heartened by the Biden administration decision to defend domestic privacy protections, gig economy worker safeguards, family farmers’ right-to-repair, anti-monopoly enforcement and AI oversight from Big Tech’s extreme “digital trade” demands. Any final IPEF digital rules must support, not derail, executive and congressional initiatives to stop Big Tech abuses of workers, consumers and small businesses.