TPP RE­VIVAL AT APEC MEET­ING IN HANOI?

Mov­ing ahead may help bar­gain­ing po­si­tion of mem­bers in bilateral talks with US

New Straits Times - - Business - Fig­ures are 2016 fig­ures at con­stant prices, trade fig­ures are for 2016, pop­u­la­tion fig­ures are for 2015. In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, World Bank

HANOI bar­gain­ing po­si­tion of the mem­bers in bilateral talks with the US.

It could also un­der­cut the in­creas­ing re­gional dom­i­nance of China, which is not part of the TPP and backs a big­ger but less com­pre­hen­sive free trade agree­ment for Asia.

“We’ll be look­ing to see whether TPP min­is­ters say they are def­i­nitely push­ing ahead by sim­ply by chang­ing the ar­ti­cles,” said Alan Bol­lard, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Apec Sec­re­tar­iat. “Or whether they come out and say they’re pos­i­tive about the prospects but need more dis­cus­sions.”

Af­ter ini­tially ap­pear­ing re­luc­tant to move ahead with­out the US, Japan is at the fore­front of the push along with New Zealand. Japan has em­pha­sised that it would ul­ti­mately like to bring the US back in.

The back­ing of some other mem­bers is less clear.

Viet­nam would have been one of the big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the orig­i­nal TPP be­cause of lower tar­iffs and more in­vest­ment from the US. Malaysia is in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion and an of­fi­cial there voiced hope of an even­tual re­turn to the TPP.

Push­ing TPP for­ward could help Japan’s po­si­tion in ne­go­ti­at­ing a bilateral deal with the US, said Nguyen Xuan Thanh of the Har­vard Kennedy School. The same would ap­ply for Viet­nam, he said.

New US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lighthizer’s in­di­vid­ual meet­ings with coun­ter­parts, par­tic­u­larly from the world’s sec­ond big­gest econ­omy, China, will be closely watched.

Mex­ico and Canada, with which Trump seeks to rene­go­ti­ate their North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, are also in Apec.

The fi­nal state­ment from Apec trade min­is­ters will be scru­ti­nised for any change to language which last year em­pha­sised “free and open” trade and in­vest­ment. It made no men­tion of the word “fair”. Reuters TRADE min­is­ters from the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (Apec) group­ing will dis­cuss var­i­ous trade agree­ments or pos­si­ble agree­ments around their meet­ing in Hanoi this week­end.

Here is a rough guide to the agree­ments and how they com­pare.

TRANS-PA­CIFIC PART­NER­SHIP (TPP)

Its fu­ture has been doubt since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew the United States in one of his first acts as pres­i­dent, but Japan and oth­ers are now try­ing to get the 11 re­main­ing mem­bers to push ahead. It does not in­clude China.

Since the with­drawal of the United States, it is some­times re­ferred to as TPP-11 or TPP mi­nus One.

Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP): US$8,897 bil­lion (vs. US$25,559 bil­lion for TPP-12)

Pop­u­la­tion: 496 mil­lion (vs. 817 mil­lion for TPP-12)

Trade be­tween mem­bers: US$265 bil­lion (US$1,014 bil­lion for TPP-12)

Mem­bers: Aus­tralia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mex­ico, New Zealand, Peru, Sin­ga­pore, Viet­nam (TPP-12 in­cluded the United States)

RE­GIONAL COM­PRE­HEN­SIVE ECO­NOMIC PART­NER­SHIP (RECP) This free trade deal is backed by China and it has been given new im­pe­tus by the US with­drawal from the TPP. Mem­bers now hope to get it signed by the end of the year, al­though past tar­gets have proved op­ti­mistic.

RCEP is less com­pre­hen­sive than TPP and the main fo­cus is re­duc­ing tar­iffs, al­though not as many would reach zero as un­der that other agree­ment.

GDP: US$21,490 bil­lion

Pop­u­la­tion: 3,519 mil­lion

Trade be­tween mem­bers: US$1,937 bil­lion

Mem­bers: Brunei, Cam­bo­dia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myan­mar, the Philip­pines, Sin­ga­pore, Thailand, Viet­nam, China, Japan, South Korea, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, In­dia

FREE TRADE AREA OF THE ASIA-PA­CIFIC (FTAAP)

This is es­sen­tially an as­pi­ra­tion among the 21 Pa­cific Rim na­tions that are part of Apec, a fo­rum cre­ated in 1989 to pro­mote free trade in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

GDP: US$41,581 bil­lion

Pop­u­la­tion: 2,847 mil­lion

Trade be­tween mem­bers: US$5,547 bil­lion

Mem­bers: Rus­sia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Tai­wan, Viet­nam, Philip­pines, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Sin­ga­pore, Aus­tralia, Pa­pua New Guinea, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Mex­ico, Peru, Chile. Reuters

GDP

Sources:

Robert Lighthizer

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