United States Granted Observer Status in the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA)

April 22, 2024

WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced today that the United States has become an Observer to the Partnership Council of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA). 

“I am grateful for the support of the IPETCA participating economies for the United States’ request for Observer status,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broad efforts to deepen engagement with Indigenous communities in the United States, USTR has engaged extensively with our Indigenous partners. Our engagement in IPETCA will allow us to explore additional ways of ensuring that Indigenous People benefit fully from trade and economic development.”
Initiated in 2021, IPETCA establishes a framework for facilitating cooperation between participating economies to identify and remove barriers to Indigenous Peoples’ economic empowerment and participation in trade. The current IPETCA participating economies are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Taiwan. The Partnership Council is the governing body of IPETCA and is composed of Indigenous and government representatives from the participating economies to the Arrangement.

Responding to the interests of U.S. Tribal Leaders as expressed through USTR's annual Tribal Consultation process, Ambassador Katherine Tai formally expressed the interest of the United States in gaining Observer status in February 2024, and this request was recently approved by the IPETCA Partnership Council. As an Observer to the Arrangement, the United States demonstrates its support to this initiative and will gain insights into the work of its participants.

USTR will be engaging further with Tribal nations and Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian community-based organizations regarding U.S. observership in IPETCA.