The Biden administration has launched its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) to increase economic cooperation among Pacific region democratic nations. Korea should be an active participant.
In an effort to bring together democratic, rule-of-law Pacific-rim nations in a new trading bloc, it was clearly a disappointment that the United States did not join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
But as Rob Atkinson writes in The Korea Times, too much deindustrialization, much of it from unfair and predatory Chinese government practices (such as intellectual property theft, massive subsidization and chronic trade surpluses), made too many Americans, especially in key "swing states" needed for a candidate to win the White House, skeptical of trade expansion.
IPEF is a modest step in this direction to have the democratic, market economies of the Asia-Pacific region to work more closely together, not to push back explicitly against Chinese economic and political predation, but to help each other. As such, Korea should be a willing and eager partner.