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By Gerald Wilson on November 23, 2016

I believe in pragmatism over idealism; compromise over confrontation; mutual gain over lose-lose. I believe we as a nation can do better than this.

The TPP was a key element of President Obama’s strategic rebalance to Asia, but his administration has given up on the idea of ratifying the deal in the lame duck session of Congress. And President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear for one last time on television that he will axe the TPP on day one of his presidency.

China, meanwhile, has lost no time in pushing forward its own vision for free trade in Asia through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a potential deal it has long championed involving 14 Asian nations, plus Australia and New Zealand.

The RCEP would involve much lower standards for the environment, labour rights and intellectual property protection than the TPP and does not include the United States, potentially leaving US businesses at a competitive disadvantage in Asia.

“There’s no doubt that there would be a pivot to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership if the TPP doesn’t go forward,” Japanese Prime Minister Abe said, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Vietnam has already indicated it won’t go ahead with ratification of the TPP, while Malaysia has said it will now turn its attention towards the RCEP negotiations. Chile and Peru have also expressed interest in joining RCEP negotiations in the light of the TPP’s problems.


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