China: The world’s new champion of free trade?


Added by on December 2, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was the largest ever US-proposed trade deal and took years to put together, but US President-elect Donald Trump has promised to withdraw from the deal on his very first day in office.

The TPP, signed by 12 countries in February 2016, covers 40 percent of the world’s economy. But all 12 nations need to ratify it, and Trump’s comments suggest that this will not happen.

As the United States, the world’s biggest economy and the champion of free trade for the past century, is about to back away from closer global economic integration, analysts question whether China has what it takes to be the world’s new champion of free trade.

While China has not signed on to the TPP agreement, it could take advantage of new opportunities as the US takes a more protectionist stance on trade.

China is promoting its own pan-Pacific trade pact. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is still being negotiated, but if enacted, it could become the world’s largest free trade bloc.

It differs from the TPP in that it doesn’t require its members to liberalise their economies, or take steps to protect labour rights, environment or intellectual property.

So, is it really the end of the TPP? What does it mean for China and RCEP? And what are the implications on the US, Asia and the global economy?

Deborah Elms, the executive director at the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre, takes a look at how China could now be positioning itself as the world’s new champion of free trade.

Source: Al Jazeera



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