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As Obama buries US-led TPP, focus shifts to China-backed trade deal
November 13, 2016, 7:13 am

In Peru, Obama will explain to other TPP nations the reasons for the US government's failure and the suspensions of its efforts to win congressional approval for the deal [Xinhua]

In Peru, Obama will explain to other TPP nations the reasons for the US government’s failure and the suspensions of its efforts to win congressional approval for the deal [Xinhua]

The China-proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) will be in focus during the upcoming  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru from Nov. 19-20 even as the US officially gives up on a rival trade deal, the TPP.

Heads of states including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama will be in attendance at the APEC Summit.

In Peru, Obama will explain to other TPP nations the reasons for the US government’s failure and the suspensions of its efforts to win congressional approval for the deal.

US President-elect Trump has called the TPP a “disaster” and “a rape of our country”.

In response, Beijing has stepped up efforts to reach a more wider and inclusive trade deal for the region.

None of the BRICS nations were part of the US-led TPP, the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said this week that the region urgently needed a free trade agreement.

“China believes we should set a new and very practical working plan, to positively respond to the expectations of industry, and sustain momentum and establish a free trade area in Asia-Pacific at an early date,” Li said.

By pushing for a wider deal in the Asia Pacific that would equal the EU, China would also steal a march over the TPP championed by President Barack Obama’s administration.

However, if the Asia-Pacific FTA succeeds in materializing, it would finally bring the United States and China into an agreement to deepen trade liberalization, after more than a decade of failed talks.

APEC represents a potential market of billions of consumers, including the Chinese market of 1.3 billion people.

China will push for completing collective strategic research on the Asian-Pacific free-trade zone on schedule, said Zhang Xiangchen, deputy China international trade representative.

Last year, the APEC Leaders’ Declaration highlighted the role of the China-backed FTAAP as the main force to promote regional integration.

Beijing is trying to counter US’ progress in forming the Trans-Pacific Partnership that excludes China by this alternate mega Free Trade Agreement in the Asia Pacific.

The FTA, if implemented, will add an estimated $2.4 trillion to the global economy, says a survey by Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

The US-led TPP excluded major world economies like China and India.

The top trade official of the Obama administration had warned that failure to ratify the TPP trade deal would ensure that the US ceded leadership in global trade to China.

“We’re one vote away from either cementing our leadership in this region and in the global trading system or ceding it to China… At the end of the day I don’t think Congress wants to be responsible for handing the keys to the castle to China,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in July.

Earlier last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also criticised the way the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, saying the “clandestine talks” do not promote stability in Asia Pacific.

Putin has backed China on both the FTAAP and the China-led RCEP trade talks.

RCEP groups the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, but not the United States.

Meanwhile, a parallel business forum called the CEO Summit will also be held in Peru during the APEC Summit this year that will be attended by Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

 

TBP and Agencies

One Response to As Obama buries US-led TPP, focus shifts to China-backed trade deal

  1. debbie Reply

    November 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I think the u.s. has no right to decide for any country, let each country make its own choice of trading partners. Outside of that fundamental, I think each country must focus on its obligations first to its own people and its land and natural resources, nurturing and protecting them from paradoxical invasive countries – a socialistic governing, if you will – while trading is win-win.

    My personal wish as to further repair of climate is to move globally to more plant-based diet; this is human’s biological design by nature, methane from feedlots is a huge contributor to climate problems worldwide and is being ignored for sake of greed. I implore BRICS to be at the forefront of this issue also, to lead the way to changes in this major area of concern.

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