Trump TPP Saul Loeb/Getty Images

The Rebirth of the TPP

When Donald Trump, in one of his first acts as president, announced that the US would not participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many assumed that the mega-regional trade deal was dead. But such assumptions may have been premature.

TOKYO – When Donald Trump, in one of his first acts as president, announced that the United States would not participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many assumed that the mega-regional trade deal was dead. But such assumptions may have been premature.

The TPP was originally envisioned as a rules-based economic area spanning the Pacific and comprising 12 member countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam – which collectively account for about 40% of the world economy. The negotiations, which lasted five years, were undertaken with great care and diligence. In Japan’s case, for example, the negotiators, headed by Akira Amari, then the minister of state for economic and fiscal policy, worked day and night to assuage opposition by various sectors of the domestic economy (say, rice growers) and to secure favorable outcomes.

Trump’s announcement in January, which came just as the deal was set to be ratified, certainly shook the endeavor at its core. But many relevant players, eager to prevent the TPP from crumbling, soon began to discuss moving forward without the US.

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