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Asia Minute: New Round of Trade Politics for the Asia Pacific

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

One of the first actions Donald Trump took as President was to pull the United States out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. The move was widely expected, but for a number of countries in Asia, there is an alternate multi-lateral trade deal that is waiting; one put together by China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Forget the TPP.

Here’s a new set of initials for trade in the Asia Pacific: RCEP—the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.”

It’s led by China and includes 16 countries, but not the United States.

The Trans Pacific Partnership, the “TPP,"  included a dozen countries, but not China.

Presidential candidates of both major U.S. political parties criticized the TPP on the campaign trail in part because critics said it favored big companies.

But the TPP did have certain labor and environmental provisions that are so far absent from the deal China is putting together.

The TPP required parliamentary approval from every country.  But the only place it reached a vote was Japan—where it passed.

Australia’s Trade Minister said Monday he hoped the remaining eleven countries could agree on a “TPP minus one.”  An idea the country’s opposition leader calls “dead in the water.”

Malaysia’s deputy Trade Minister said a collapse of the TPP is likely to lead his country to join the trade group led by China.

Diplomats are now watching the trade language and tone in several other countries that had signed up with BOTH trade deals—including Japan and South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and Canada.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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