U.S. presence in Asia-Pacific after TPP, RCEP

Shipping containers from China and other Asian countries are unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles on September 14, 2019, as the trade war between China and the United States continues in Long Beach, California.

Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – After two large free trade agreements signed by countries in the region according to the former foreign policy adviser, the Biden administration will be likely to reestablish the future of US economic leadership in the Asia-Pacific.

The first of the two trade agreements is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): It was negotiated by the Obama administration but was never ratified by Congress. President Donald Trump later exited the US from the TPP in 2017 as the remaining 11 countries negotiated afresh and a year later signed a comprehensive and progressive agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP.

Recently, 15 countries including China, Australia, Japan, South Korea as well as Southeast Asian countries signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): it is the largest trading bloc globally, with 2.2 billion people Includes market and investment of $ 26.2 million. Global production – about 30% of world GDP.

“As of now, the incoming administration has not committed in one way or another to the future of the TPP,” Richard Fontaine, CEO of the Center for a New American Security, said in CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Tuesday. Fontaine previously served as the foreign policy advisor to Sen. John McCain and worked in the US State Department.

He explained that President-Elect Joe Biden and his administration will enter an era where the US is neither a party to the TPP nor the RCEP. “They said they are at least going to consider what the future of American economic leadership in Asia looks like,” he said.

Business policy

According to Fontaine, a major change between the Trump administration and the upcoming Biden administration would be the post-multilateralism approach.

“The president-elect and his team have been in pain to say how they will work with partners and allies and like-minded countries around the world on climate change and global health, and all issues ranging from the epidemic to China and more. Types of things, ”Fontaine said.

On the other hand, trade remains a complex issue for domestic politics. While many of the charges that Trump had imposed on China during the War of Trade, including the US, the Biden administration would never have imposed, it would inherit those policies next year, Fontaine explained.

He said that Biden and his team have stated that they will review the tariffs when they enter office and may do so with US allies and partners, with a possible approach towards developing “some general approaches”.

Did Fontaine maintain that tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on China have been maintained or have he set the tone for US-China relations for quite some time in the “Biden” administration.

Experts previously told CNBC that Biden would be constrained by the political climate and cannot return to some of the positions China held in the past that were seen as relatively weak.

On its website so far, the Biden-Harris transition team has stated that the top priorities of the incoming administration include tackling the coronovirus epidemic, striving for American economic recovery, as well as tackling racial equity and climate change.

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