With Trump Win, China Looks to Seize Asia Free Trade Leadership


China's bid to assert its economic leadership is gaining traction in its push for an Asia-wide trade pact in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory, which dashed hopes for a us -led deal that would have taken in about 40 percent of the global economy.

Image: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Peruvian Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna Mendoza (L) before their bilateral meeting at the APEC Ministers Summit in Lima, Peru November 17, 2016.

"If we couldn't get there with the United States, (access to) Japan would still be worth it".

As the results of the USA election came through, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: "We see TPP as an important economic manifestation of the US' presence in our region". The TPP was originally an agreement of four countries, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, in 2005.

The partnership includes the 10 Asean countries as well as those that have free-trade agreements with the regional bloc, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. "I don't think we'll hear a lot on TPP for a while".

As a non-status quo power, the U.S. offered an alternative way to organize the world.

"America never has a lame duck commander-in-chief", Harris said, indicating that U.S. President Barack Obama will remain engaged in the region until his term ends in mid January. "But also we could have trade-related barriers for USA financial services and other high-tech products". Now, President-Elect Donald Trump says he will withdraw from the trade deal.

Harris said that while he could not predict the potential policy initiatives of the incoming administration, he had "no doubt we'll continue our steadfast commitment to our allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific".

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Trade minister Eduardo Ferreyros said he hopes Peru will someday be part of both proposed tariff-slashing deals - the Trans Pacific Partnership with the United States and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with China. Kevin Brady is the Chairman of the US House Ways and Means, the committee which decides on matters of taxation, tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures in the US.

While New Zealand would support that outcome if it was the only one on offer, the country had pursued TPP because it offered the prospect of open trade with both Japan and the U.S., two of the world's largest economies, with which New Zealand has never been able to negotiate a free trade agreement.

"With Trump not ratifying the TPP, [Filipino President Rodrigo] Duterte changing his approach to China, it all shows that without the TPP, there is no pivot to Asia", Andrés Delgado Casteleiro, an expert in worldwide dispute settlement at the Max Planck Institute in Luxembourg, tells GTR.

Three, a complete renegotiation of the TPP.

However according to Reuters which cited Chinese state media, China's President Xi Jinping spoke to Trump down the phone on Monday, saying that cooperation was the only choice for relations between the two economies.

Obama, Putin and China's President Xi Jingpin are each scheduled to address the summit on Saturday. But the RCEP has recently been under the spotlight as the fate of the TPP hangs in the balance.

"Beijing is understandably relieved that the exclusive, economically inefficient, politically antagonizing TPP is looking ever less likely to materialize by the day", said an editorial this week in state-run English-language newspaper China Daily. And, TPP was deeper than RCEP that appears to focus nearly exclusively on tariff reduction. "The American people have had their say." he said.

Though Obama championed the TPP as a way to counter China's rise, his administration has now stopped trying to win congressional approval for the deal that was signed by 12 economies in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, but excluded China.