The waiting room for the Comprehensive Progress Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was already overcrowded even before South Korea knocked on the door last week.Seoul will join China and Taiwan In the process of seeking to join the 11-nation trade bloc, the United Kingdom has gone further and has begun to join negotiations. For Seoul, this is a bold step towards multilateralism and adds impetus to the great success story of CPTPP as an international trading system.
But these applications have brought members a series of geopolitical dilemmas.will Recognize China Expanding Beijing’s influence at the expense of Washington? If China does not join, can Taiwan join? Can members get rid of the tense bilateral relationship, such as the unfriendly relationship between Tokyo and Seoul, and allow new members to join the club? The best way is to go back to one thing that every country in Asia agrees on-the benefits of expanding trade-and evaluate candidates based on their merits. In doing so, the question will answer itself.
Over the years, the original TPP was promoted By the U.S., It regards trading as a tool to update economic governance rules. During the Obama administration, Washington negotiated texts with 11 other members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. TPP is designed as a “high-quality” agreement, with strict regulations on investment, intellectual property and labor standards, and tariffs.
The two parties reached an agreement in October 2015. But when the United States elects Donald Trump as president the following year, he will withdraw as one of his first actions. After the renegotiation, certain priorities of the United States (such as drug patent rights) were thrown aside, and the remaining 11 countries made the current CPTPP effective. The resulting agreement is very similar to the original vision of the United States: a highly liberalized trade agreement that sets high standards. If Beijing, London, Seoul and Taipei are willing to meet these standards, existing members should welcome them to join.
This condition is very important. As part of the joining process, applicants need to explain how they follow the rules. Therefore, the natural response to Beijing’s request to join is to ask it to join. For example, CPTPP has strict regulations on state-owned enterprises, so members will want to know the details of the government’s control and support of various Chinese companies. Canberra naturally wants to know how Beijing’s punitive tariffs on beef, barley and wine meet the regulations.
If Beijing really wants to comply and can show its continued willingness to comply with the CPTPP principles, it will be a step forward for the global trading system. If not, it seems more likely, then China should not be accepted.
In contrast, the barriers in Seoul and Taipei are not high. Both parties must accept compromises in agriculture and fisheries. Members such as Tokyo will have the right to raise all trade issues, such as the ban on food imports from Fukushima due to the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture. In contrast, it is illegal for Tokyo to block South Korea due to historical disputes during the war.
In Europe and the United States, trade has been politicized-seen as a sovereign issue, or a threat to worker wages. Asia is more pragmatic. Last year, it agreed to another regional trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. It is wrong to allow geopolitics to influence CPTPP. Instead, the standards in the agreement are designed to shape geopolitics. Apply them and let them do their work.