Requests from China and Taiwan to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Treaty of Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) represent challenges for the United States, highlighted an analysis by the US Congress.
Both Asian economies applied separately to join the CPTPP during the current month.
The United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in 2017, but the other negotiating countries continued to conclude CPTPP in 2018.
Only Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam have ratified and implemented the CPTPP. Brunei, Chile and Malaysia will not benefit until they complete their ratification processes.
According to the analysis, China’s formal application for membership and its possible participation in that trade agreement, along with that of Taiwan, may have implications for how countries view the United States’ trade and economic leadership and the influence of the United States in the world. development of new business rules.
The United States does not participate in any of the major Asia-Pacific regional trade agreements or negotiations.
Proponents of the TPP argued that the US withdrawal from the TPP ceded US leadership in developing new trade rules, particularly in areas where trade barriers are a growing concern and where comprehensive multilateral rules and disciplines currently do not exist (e.g. state companies and digital commerce), although critics of the TPP questioned this premise.
Some members and observers have urged the Biden Administration to join the CPTPP on the grounds that this will further US trade and economic engagement in Asia and ensure that US priorities continue to shape regional trade rules.
The Biden Administration has stated that it would not join that trade agreement in its current form.
The Administration could reportedly focus on a potential digital trade agreement between key U.S. trading partners in the region, though it has not announced such plans to date.
Some trade policy experts warn that China’s economic clout could persuade CPTPP members to weaken the standards of the current agreement in exchange for greater access to the Chinese market.
Others suggest, the analysis concludes, that China’s enforcement, which China’s leaders say is driven by a desire for a more substantive multilateral engagement in trade, may reflect a desire to fracture perceived containment strategies between the United States and its partners. allies within the so-called TPP-11, such as Japan.