Asia looks beyond US pact to a new era in trade

US President Donald Trump on Monday pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. China is looking to fill the gap.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office on January 23, 2017, pulling the US out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

US President Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on Monday in a move critics say could create friction with America's Asian allies.

Trump removed the US from the TPP because his administration sees it as the kind of deal that takes American jobs and manufacturing overseas.

TRT World's Jennifer Glasse reports from Washington DC on one importer and how the changes might affect his business.

A TPP with China instead of the US?

Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday said they hope to salvage the TPP by encouraging China and other Asian nations to join the trade pact.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he held discussions with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong overnight about the possibility of proceeding with the TPP without the US.

New Zealand's English said the United States was ceding influence to China and the region's focus could switch to alternative trade deals.

Malaysia's trade minister said negotiators from the remaining TPP countries would be in "constant communication" to decide the best way forward.

The TTP, a signature policy of former President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia" has been five years in the making. It requires ratification by at least six countries to go into effect and accounts for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the member nations.

Obama's Asia pivot was designed to bolster US influence in a region where China's presence looms large.

China, the world's top exporter, already has proposed the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and has championed the Southeast Asia-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Australia on Tuesday held open the possibility of China joining a revised TPP deal.

TRTWorld and agencies