‘it could effectively bring back the Trans-Pacific Partnership’

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

White House sources who spoke to Reuters say Japanese and Trump regime officials may be close to reaching a trade deal; a deal that could be announced as soon as September.

You can file that under believe it when I see it, but what truly tickles me is what else their source had to say about a potential trade deal with Japan.

The idea, they say, is to recreate the much-maligned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that Trump abandoned.

The source said the Trump administration was rushing to conclude a deal with Japan to use as leverage in its sputtering negotiations with China on.

The Chinese are fearful the Japanese will get one first,” the source said. “Because it could effectively bring back (the Trans-Pacific Partnership).

Improved access to the Japanese market would help the United States compete with members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade agreement among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

I have all the doubt in the world that China is actually "fearful" that Trump will sign a deal with Japan, but what's truly amusing here is the attempt to "bring back" the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

What Trump tried and failed to do -- renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the next century -- President Obama actually accomplished by leading negotiations to sign and pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Fueled by rhetoric from both the Left and Right, Trump withdrew from the Pacific Partnership at the very last minute after all the legwork had already been done. That left other nations to sign it without us in early 2018 after making minor adjustments to exclude the United States.

Like Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, his regime is now trying to claw their way back to anything resembling the leadership and progress of the Obama administration.

Even if Trump does sign a deal with Japanese President Shinzo Abe, we'll still be a long way away from resurrecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The next president will likely have to negotiate our way back into the trade bloc.

  • muselet

    China understandably sees itself as the military and economic superpower in Asia, and so did not want the TPP to happen (or at the very least, not with the US as a party). If the US/Japan trade deal being negotiated sorta-kinda restores the TPP, or even just eases trade between the US and CPTPP members, China is not going to be happy.

    Given the Trump administration’s cack-handed approach to negotiations, I tend to doubt that China has much to worry about.

    And yes, the US will have to negotiate membership in the CPTPP, and will probably have to accept less favorable terms than before. It’s going to be a long time before the US will be seen as a reliable partner again.