(Stephen S. Roach – Yale Global Online)
The demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the final nail in the coffin of global trade liberalization. The handwriting was on the wall with failure of the Doha Round, which floundered immediately after its initiation in 2001. But now that US President-elect Donald Trump has signaled his intent to have the United States withdraw from TPP – signed, but not ratified, after eight years of tortuous negotiations among 12 nations – there can be little doubt of the seismic cracks in the postwar global order.
The kneejerk reaction is to presume that China will quickly fill the void. After all, it is the driver of an alternative 16-nation trade agreement – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. While the RCEP framework stops well short of TPP’s tariff reductions and high standards, it still has the potential to play a catalytic role in fostering greater pan-regional economic integration in the world’s fastest growing region. That would certainly seem to enhance China’s power base. Click here to read more.