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The Evolving US View on TPP

Sep 2013
Working Paper
484
Gary Clyde Hufbauer

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks were launched without fanfare by former President George W. Bush in March 2008, near the end of his term in office. But it was President Obama who, in November 2009, committed the US to work with the so-called Pacific Four (P4) countries to create “a regional agreement that will have broad-based membership and the high standards worthy of a 21st century trade agreement." I argue in this paper that the motive for engaging in TPP is largely influenced by the rapid rise of China. TPP became Obama’s chosen vehicle to strengthen the US political-economic footprint in Asia, and avoid being disadvantaged politically or economically by China. The elements of the TPP package and how it evolves with time are discussed. The importance of Japan and Korea, along with the impact of the regional integration in Asia is also explored in this paper. I then conclude with a discussion on how China fits into the big picture.

Publication Keywords: 
TPP
Trade Agreements
US-China Relationship
China
Geographic Regions: 
East Asia