China Responds to US Trade Pact Effort in Asia

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a pretty bold move by the Obama administration, but it is now seen as ill-advised and badly conceived. It was supposed to be the key to the US “pivot to Asia,” and many of its advocates thought that the other nations in the region would be eager to see China off-balance. Now, China has recovered the momentum lost when the TPP was conceived and has seemed to turn the tables.

Now, more likely to make an impact is a China-led effort dubbed APEC—the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group—of which the US and Japan, like the TPP are members. The plan put forward by the Chinese is similar to that which anchored the TPP, but includes China as a dominant player. It puts the US at a disadvantage in some areas. It also pleases the Japanese by leaving alone key sectors they’ve engaged in protectionism over for years and also gives little to the US.  In addition, if the Democrats in Congress could not support the Obama-championed TPP plan, there is virtually no chance it will support the APEC plan and that threatens to leave the US on the outside looking in. The “pivot” initiative was not well executed by the US, and we all know what happens in a basketball game when that happens.

- Chris Kuehl, PhD, Armada Corporate Intelligence

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