U.S. EX­IT­ING TPP

Pull­out will ‘cre­ate void that China is fill­ing in the re­gion’, says for­mer ne­go­tia­tor

New Straits Times - - Business -

HAINAN (China)

FOR­MER United States trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man said the goals of a 12-na­tion Pa­cific trade pact he helped ne­go­ti­ate are likely to live on in some fash­ion and that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to aban­don the agree­ment was a “ter­ri­ble mis­take”.

Asia-Pa­cific na­tions value “high stan­dard rules” ne­go­ti­ated in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion-led deal, said Fro­man yes­ter­day in a Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion in­ter­view from the an­nual Boao Fo­rum, here. “The rules that we ne­go­ti­ated find their way into ef­fect in some way or another in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways.”

Fro­man also warned that pulling out of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) would have broader ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the US.

It “cre­ates a void that China is fill­ing in the re­gion,” said Fro­man, now a fel­low at the Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions.

He pointed to the pos­si­bil­ity that TPP coun­tries con­tin­ued without US in­volve­ment or turn to the 16-na­tion Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP), an Asia-wide agree­ment that’s favoured by China but does not in­clude the US.

Mov­ing for­ward with key pro­vi­sions of the TPP won’t prove easy, though Aus­tralia in par­tic­u­lar has spo­ken of that pos­si­bil­ity.

Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to with­draw from the agree­ment in Jan­uary, cit­ing the risk to US jobs from a deal that would have cov­ered 40 per cent of the global econ­omy.

Since then, re­gional at­ten­tion

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