Trade al­lies pro­ceed with­out the U.S.

Canada, Ja­pan, 9 other coun­tries are form­ing new bar­ter­ing group

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - SUNDAY MORNING - By Alexan­dra Steven­son and Mo­toko Rich NEW YORK TIMES

HONG KONG — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shook up the world eco­nomic or­der this year by pulling the United States out of a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional trade pact and rais­ing fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about its global role.

Today, the world is mov­ing on with­out it.

A group of 11 coun­tries an­nounced Satur­day that they had com­mit­ted to res­ur­rect­ing a multi­na­tional trade agree­ment, the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, with­out the United States. A new deal, which would have to be signed and rat­i­fied by each coun­try, would in­clude ma­jor U.S. al­lies like Ja­pan, Canada and Mex­ico. Col­lec­tively, they ac­count for about a sixth of global trade.

The agree­ment will “serve as a foun­da­tion for build­ing a broader free­trade area” across Asia, Taro Kono, Ja­pan’s for­eign min­is­ter, said in a state­ment.

Point­edly, the po­ten­tial mem­bers of what is now called the Com­pre­hen­sive and Pro­gres­sive Agree­ment for Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship came to an early agree­ment on the broad out­line of a deal while many of their lead­ers were meet­ing with Trump in Viet­nam — it­self a po­ten­tial mem­ber of the new trad­ing group.

Some de­tails of a new deal, in­clud­ing when rules would be phased in, still need to be de­ter­mined, and prospec­tive mem­ber states like Canada raised last­minute con­cerns. But a new deal could be an­nounced as soon as early next year.

Other coun­tries are mak­ing progress on their own trade deals, with­out any par­tic­i­pa­tion from the United States.

China is ne­go­ti­at­ing a po­ten­tial deal with 16 Asi­aPa­cific coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, In­dia and South Korea.

The Euro­pean Union and Ja­pan hope to strike sep­a­rate trade pacts with a group of South Amer­i­can coun­tries, Brazil and Ar­gentina among them.

Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has ques­tioned years of ef­forts to lower global trade bar­ri­ers, ar­gu­ing that they hurt U.S. work­ers and led to big trade deficits. It also means deal­ing with na­tions one-on-one.

But other fac­tors are push­ing the rest of the world to fill the void left by the United States. China’s rise as a re­gional and eco­nomic power is driv­ing other na­tions ei­ther to join with it or to join to­gether to counter it.

More wor­ry­ing for some is the pos­si­bil­ity that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is ced­ing its po­si­tion as global leader to China.

“The U.S. has lost its lead­er­ship role,” said Jayant Menon, an econ­o­mist at the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank.

An­drew Harnik / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump greets chil­dren wav­ing Amer­i­can and Viet­namese flags as he ar­rives Satur­day at Noi Bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Hanoi. Trump’s five-coun­try trip through Asia in­cluded stops in Ja­pan, South Korea and China. His last stop will be...

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