Home Contact Us  
   

China - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5146, 4 October 2016
 

East Asia Compass

Future of the TPP and the US' Pivot to Asia
Sandip Kumar Mishra
Associate Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, JNU & Visiting Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS)
 


In the first round of the presidential debates in the US, it became certain that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is still far from being realised. While the Republican candidate, Donald Trump reiterated his opposition to the TPP, even the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton stated that she is not in favour of it in its present form. This stance is understandable for Trump, who has been a supporter of protectionist policies, but more salient is the shift in Clinton’s approach, who worked for the conclusion of the TPP when she was the Secretary of State. In fact, current US President Barak Obama has still been trying to get the deal ratified by the US Congress. 

Hillary Clinton’s shift is posited in a domestic environment of growing unrest in the US over the TPP. It is alleged that the TPP is going to be less beneficial for US’ small and medium businesses and for the employment scenario and it has become politically difficult for any candidate to support the TPP as it would have adverse implications on their electoral success. 

TPP is a trade agreement among twelve countries of the Pacific Rim, which, after numerous rounds of discussions, was finally signed in February 2016 in New Zealand. Its ratification is still in process, post which it would come into force. The TPP was incorporated in US policy in 2008 to reengage with the Asia Pacific by excluding China. Later on it was considered to be an important component of the US pivot to Asia. The TPP was supposed to conclude in 2012 but it got prolonged because of both political and technical reasons. After a topsy-turvy journey, in February 2016, it appeared that the TPP would finally become a reality but the recent mood in the US seems to point to the fact that the process is far from over. 

The change in the public disposition appears to be an important reason for the US presidential candidates to distance themselves from it. If the deal is not ratified by the US, it means that the US’ influence and connections in setting up the economic rules of Asia Pacific is going to be seriously reduced. In July 2016, the US Trade Representative admitted, “a failure to ratify TPP would give China the opportunity to boost its exports and set labor and environment standards in the fast-growing Asia Pacific regions through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)”. Even the US President Barak Obama said “if we don’t pass this agreement – if America doesn’t write those rules – then countries like China will”. 

Many US allies in Asia-Pacific, such as Japan, Singapore and Australia, look forward to a greater role of the US in the regional economic architecture and they would be deeply disappointed by the current political atmosphere in the US. If the TPP does not materialise, the ties with the US would not hold much value for them, except for empty words and past performance, at least in the economic domain. Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong’s statement to Obama sums up the general sentiment of the American allies in the region, “your partners, your friends who have come to the table, who have negotiated, each one of them has overcome some domestic political objection, some sensitivity, some political cost to come to the table and make this deal. And if, at the end, waiting at the altar, the bride doesn't arrive, I think there are people who are going to be very hurt, not just emotionally but really damaged for a long time to come”.

Contrary to the US, China has improved its economic clout in the region very decisively. China, which is the number one trading partner of more than 112 countries in the world, certainly has taken the task of being the economic pivot of Asia-Pacific. China’s initiatives such as One Belt One Road (OBOR) and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) appear to be future frameworks along with the RCEPs that would shape the rules, norms and institutions of economic exchanges among the countries of the region. 

Even though there are significant concerns about the China’s political and military assertion in the region, US’ allies had no option but to somehow, reluctantly, deal with the attractive economic propositions by the Chinese and wait for the TPP to conclude. Japan is going to take up the TPP ratification issue in its ongoing 66-day extraordinary session of the parliament. Shinzo Abe tried to convince Hillary Clinton about the TPP in his recent visit to the US. Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, in his September 2016 visit to the US, also urged the US congress to ratify the TPP as soon as possible “as it goes beyond economics”.

Here it is important to underline that though the US government is aware of the significance of the TPP and is willing to get it ratified however it is the current domestic disposition that hampers the process by not allowing any presidential candidate to support the deal. It indicates the existing reality, that even though the US government is interested in a pivot towards Asia, it’s capacity to do so is increasingly getting reduced. It may prove to be an advantage for China but Beijing also needs to be aware about spoilers such as its own political and military stances and the picture is still not clear. 

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Park Geun-hye's Impeachment and South Korean Foreign Policy

US Tactical Nukes in the Korean Peninsula?

Forecast 2017: East Asia

Japan-China Contestation in 2017

Donald Trump and East Asia

PM Modi’s Visit to Japan: Prospects and Prudence

Russia’s Overtures in East Asia

China’s Game on North Korea

Six-Party Talks 2.0: Not for Denuclearisation but for Peace

Deadlock at Shangri-La: Is There a Way Forward?

North Korea’s 7th Party Congress: Context and Content

Japan’s New Security Laws: Context and Implications

What is the Efficacy of Sanctions on North Korea?

‘Brilliant’ Comrade: The Design in North Korean Madness

Forecast 2016: East Asia on the Cusp

Japan-South Korea: Resolving the Comfort Women Issue

China’s Maritime Assertiveness and Repercussions

China-Japan-South Korea: A New Beginning?

India-Japan-US Trilateral: India’s Policy for the Indo-Pacific

China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia

Many ‘Pivots to Asia’: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?

On the 10th Anniversary of the East Asian Summit

Implications of Modi’s Three-Nation Tour in East Asia

Shinzo Abe: Changing his Stance?

South Korea: US THAAD or Chinese AIIB?

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.