Monday, 6 February 2017

President Donald Trump quits TPP

Parliament: MPs to ask about Singapore's next move for the TPP
One of the top concerns of MPs when Parliament sits on Mon (Feb 6) is how Singapore will respond to the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. FOTO: ST FILE

How S'pore will respond to the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be one of the top concerns of MPs when Parliament sits on Monday.

S'pore was a staunch champion of the 12-nation trade pact, but the agreement has been thrown into disarray by President Donald Trump's order last month that the US withdraw from it.

Countries like Japan have argued that it is meaningless to go ahead without the superpower.

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S'pore to pursue other trade agreements after US pullout from TPP

S'pore will continue to participate in other regional trade integrations initiatives, after the United States indicated it will put out of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), its Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tue (Jan 24).

On Monday, newly installed US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to remove the country from the trade pact, making good on a pledge to scrap a deal he denounced as a "job killer" and a "rape" of US interests.

The TPP trade pact was promoted by Mr Trump's predecessor and the agreement was signed in 2015 by participating countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US & Brunei - but it had not been ratified.

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Asia Looking to Alternative Trade Pacts After US Quits TPP
FILE - A protester holds a sign reading "We oppose Japan to join the TPP negotiation talks" during a rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Tokyo

Governments and business in Asia are preparing to place greater focus on regional trade and economic prospects, following the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 12 nation Trans Pacific Partnership agreement or TPP.

Analysts say alternative multilateral trade pacts including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes China, may fill the ‘vacuum’ left by the absence of TPP.

The decision, which President Donald Trump called a “great thing for the American worker” – had been anticipated by the region as it had been a key pledge by Trump during his election campaign last year.

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Asia looks to Beijing for new trade deals after Trump quits TPP

Australia has called for the Trans-Pacific Partnership to go ahead without the US after president Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 12-country free-trade deal forced Asian capitals to rethink a decade of international economic policy.

Malcolm Turnbull, prime minister of Australia, vowed to keep TPP alive and said he was open to China joining the pact instead of the US — a sign of how withdrawal could damage American interests in the region, even with its closest allies.


But trade negotiators from several countries said it would be hard to sustain TPP in its current form. Instead, big players such as China and Japan are likely to engage in intensive diplomacy as they try to shape a new regional deal.

related: Trump pulls US out of Pacific trade pact

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China in pole position to shape regional trade agreements after Trump quits TPP
China's President Xi Jinping has mounted a strident defence of economic globalisation, in a major speech at the World Economic Forum

China is in a strong position to set the agenda for trade in the region after US President Donald Trump officially abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving its other 11 members searching for an alternative deal.

So far, two main options have emerged. Australia is pushing for countries like Indonesia and China to join the TPP and salvage an agreement that took more than five years to negotiate, locking in robust standards on labour, intellectual property, food safety and the environment as well as tariff cuts.

Other countries, such as China and Malaysia, are promoting the benefits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This was an initiative led by South-east Asian countries to set up a trade deal with key partners in the region; China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and was being negotiated alongside the TPP. China is pushing for it to be signed this year.

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Singapore And The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Singapore will continue to participate in other regional trade integrations initiatives, after the United States indicated it will put out of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), its Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tue (Jan 24).

On Monday, newly installed US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to remove the country from the trade pact, making good on a pledge to scrap a deal he denounced as a "job killer" and a "rape" of US interests.

The TPP trade pact was promoted by Mr Trump's predecessor and the agreement was signed in 2015 by participating countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US & Brunei - but it had not been ratified.

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The Trump Presidency


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