IPEF's supply chain pact has no impact on policy space to impose export curbs, duties: Official

IPEF's supply chain pact has no impact on policy space to impose export curbs, duties: Official

New Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) The supply chain resilience agreement signed by the 14-member grouping IPEF, which also includes India and the US, will have no impact on the country's policy space or rights to impose export restrictions and changing customs duties on any product, an official said.

On November 15, India, the US and 12 other members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework For Prosperity (IPEF) grouping signed a supply chain resilience agreement that would help mitigate risks of economic disruptions from supply chain shocks and improve crisis coordination.

The countries have also concluded talks on proposed fair and clean economy agreements.

'Under the supply chain agreement, there is nothing where in our policy space to exercise our rights of change in tariffs or change in export policy...whatever is necessary for the country's food security or any other requirement of the country also, that policy space remains with us,' Additional Secretary in the commerce ministry Rajesh Agarwal said.

He also said that India will not have to provide any kind of advance information to IPEF members about doing any change in customs duties.

These remarks assume significance as some reports have raised concerns over the possible impact of this supply chain agreement on India's policy space to impose export restrictions.

IPEF was launched jointly by the US and other partner countries of the Indo-Pacific region on May 23 last year in Tokyo.

The framework is structured around four pillars relating to trade, supply chains, clean economy and fair economy (issues like tax and anti-corruption). India has joined all the pillars except the trade one.

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam are members of the bloc.

Agarwal said that there was a mention of putting 'unnecessary' export restrictions, but it is caveated and is similar to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) provisions and not beyond that.

If a country imposes any export curb without giving any justification, that is treated as unnecessary.

'I do not see that there is any policy space issue as far as the export restrictions are concerned...We have not constrained our policy space by doing that,' he added.

The agreement, he said, talks about cooperation to see that in case there is a stress or crisis in any particular product in any of the IPEF nations, the members will come together and work to see that the stress is mitigated.

The main three elements of the supply chain pact include cooperation, information sharing, working together for an emergency response; cooperation in critical sectors; and embedded services. PTI RR RR MR

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