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Free Trade Zone in Asia – Pacific Rim Countries

Free Trade Zone in Asia - Pacific Rim Countries

Since the US pulled out of the TPP in 2017, Japan has struggled to get support form Asia and Europe with regards to building a new trade system. 

The top 11 countries in Asia are considering a free trade system that will become both a leader and a magnet for other trade partners to join – but note this group lacks participation from the US and China. The idea driven by Japan and the Abe Cabinet is called the RCEP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership TPP, has a strong group of members and will leave the door open for China and the US to join. Currently, this trade deal has been approved by 5 members including Japan and Australia, but others will be joining including Mexico and Vietnam. This deal tabled, the one in discussion here would be 13 percent of the global economy without the US and a massive 40 percent share if the worlds largest economy does take note and become a member. Currently Tokyo and Washington are talking about trade with autos and agriculture at the core. Japan has several teams working with Europe and the US as well as its neighbors in Asia. 

But more than just a deal the will promote trade and reduce tariffs, this deal will allow either the US or China to have more control over Asia. One downside to the trade deal would be lower wages in countries and fewer manufacturing jobs, two areas in which Trump would like to support the home team and take the patriotic road. He recently hinted on an interview on CNBC that he might sign a deal that has more to offer for the US worker.

The US withdrew from the TPP talks in 2017 to focus on bilateral trade talks as it now fades away from all multi-lateral systems that it feels puts it at a disadvantage. Japan is trying to rescue the old system in different variations but PM Abe is having issues getting wide support. 

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