On 23 January 2017, President Trump announced the withdrawal of the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal between countries in the Asia-Pacific that had taken years to negotiate. Under the terms of the original agreement, US participation is necessary for the ratification of the trade deal.
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However, following Trump’s decision to pull the USA out of the TPP, Australia, Japan and New Zealand have been at the forefront of the attempt to maintain the trade pact. Furthermore, at talks held in Hanoi in May 2017, the remaining members of the pact – the so-called TPP 11 – expressed a desire to keep the deal alive. They intend to keep the trade pact open so that the US can rejoin in the future should its domestic political situation change.
Nevertheless, the TPP is facing an existential challenge. As well as having to push on without the world’s largest economy, the TPP is confronted with China’s growing economic dominance in the Asia-Pacific. In addition, the TPP is a complex, multilateral free trade deal in an era of growing protectionist sentiment and bilateralism. As a consequence, many commentators have simply written off the TPP. In contrast, the policy briefing linked to this post explores the future prospects for the TPP in more detail.
Anna Hopper (FPO Researcher)