With the stroke of a pen and possibly a string of accompanying tweets, US-President elect Donald Trump is poised to trigger the withdrawal of the world’s biggest economy from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact immediately after he takes office on January 20, sinking the ambitious free trade agreement even before it comes into force.
The exclusion of the United States from the 12-nation Pacific-Rim pact will mean that nearly eight years of negotiations done over 32 rounds – a process prolonged partly due to Washington’s expectations for a high-quality deal – now come to nought.
But leading trade experts are urging governments in trade-hungry Asia-Pacific nations from Singapore to Vietnam to quickly end their hand-wringing over the wasted effort, and instead conclude alternative deals without the US and its new protectionist leader.
… And India’s participation is just one of several potential hurdles. “Another challenge is the possible spillovers of territorial tensions and disputes onto the RCEP negotiation,” said Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit, a multilateralism studies professor at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“How well the members manage such matters would affect trust among the bargaining parties and determine the RCEP’s fate as trust is an important element helping to conclude [the] agreement,” she said.
Last updated on 11/01/2017