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A nation must think before it acts.
With the World Trade Organization process stalled, efforts to create a more open order for international trade and investment have turned to regional agreements. The most ambitious of these in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will include the U.S., Japan and ten other countries on both sides of the specific and will undertake to lower significantly barriers to trade and investment. Now widely seen as a U.S.-led project and a principal foreign policy goal in the final years of Obama’s presidency, the TPP faces significant obstacles, including: Congress’s ongoing delay in granting the president the “fast track” authority (with a commitment to an up or down congressional vote on the pact) that has become indispensible for trade agreements; and widespread criticism that the TPP process has been too opaque and that the TPP may do too little to protect American workers, the environment or U.S. sovereignty. At the same time, the TPP has become an issue in the U.S.’s increasingly fraught relations with China. Although the U.S. has indicated openness to China’s eventually joining the TPP and China has expressed potential interest in doing so, President Obama has also argued for the TPP as essential to assuring that the U.S., and not China, takes the lead in writing the rules for the global economy in the 21st century. Other questions loom over the TPP, including doubts about the commitments that Japan will make and the terms under which other major Pacific region economies, including Taiwan, will be granted entry.
In this FPRI Asia Program webcast, Shihoko Goto, Senior Associate for Northeast Asia, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Asia Program, Minyuan Zhao, Associate Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Jacques deLisle, Director of FPRI’s Asia Program and Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss the challenges facing the TPP, its prospects for moving forward, and its implications for the regional and global economies and U.S. relations with China and other Asian states.