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US has second thoughts on TPP

The US is now looking at rejoining the TPP. It already has bilateral deals with six of the 11 nations in TPP. Japan is the biggest economy in the current TPP. It says the US is welcome back. Vietnam also welcomes a US return. For the US, a multilateral deal with TPP countries would counter Chinese competition and would be faster than negotiating one-on-one with each of the 11 other nations.

However, the TPP is finely balanced, like glassware. It would be extremely difficult to renegotiate or change just one part of it. President Trump withdrew the US from the accord during his first week in office. The pact, which was conceived as a counterweight to China’s rising economic power in the region, had been negotiated under the Obama administration but never approved by Congress.

After the US withdrew, the remaining nations, representing 13 per cent of global output including Japan and Canada, finalized a revised version of the trade pact, renaming it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP.

Meanwhile the tit for tat tariffs between China and the US appear to have eased. The two countries ultimately may end up levying no new tariffs on each other.