There’s no doubting the Trump team’s commitment to cutting imports. But it keeps getting tougher to see what how they want to do it.
Few observers have high expectations for a March 14 summit in Chile of the countries that had been negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership until Donald Trump pulled the US out.
Before a March 14-15 meeting in Chile planned to review next steps after US withdrawal from the TPP, other negotiating partners – plus China, Korea and Colombia – shared views on future possibilities.
A March 10 article in the Financial Times, generally reflecting much other comment, claims US officials dealing with trade are engaged in a “civil war” with each other.
“China must be ready to face [the] growing trend of protectionism” said its Premier Li Keqiang on March 5.
Shujiro Urata, a fellow of the Japan Centre for Economic Research and a former economist at the World Bank, said on February 28 that China has been unable to “contribute constructively” to the past five years’ Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks and would be unable to accept some key TPP chapters.
The seventeenth round of talks between the sixteen countries currently interested in developing the Pacific-based Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) began in Kobe, Japan on February 27.
It remains unclear which countries are attending the meeting called for March 14-15 in Viña del Mar, Chile, to discuss options for trade co-operation after US withdrawal from the TPP.
US Congressional Republican leaders made their pitch on February 1 and 2 for handling NAFTA renegotiation and border taxes. Trump’s earlier China commitments seem to have disappeared.
The eleven countries abandoned by the US when it left the Trans Pacific Partnership on January 23 appear seriously divided about what to do next. Beijing continues to suggest their best response is a completely different arrangement centred on China.
Foreign media and Vietnamese businesses almost unanimous in complaining about effect on Vietnamese apparel industry of US abandoning TPP negotiations. But even the Vietnamese admit that its apparel industry exports grew 5.2% in 2016. This, they believe, compares with:
Crucial sourcing commitments by President-Elect Donald Trump came under fire from his own side in early December.
How seriously should brands and retailers take reports that Trump will slap extra duties on Chinese imports – and China’s almost hysterical response to those reports?
The 11 remaining nations will continue working on the pact.
“We reaffirm our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight against all forms of protectionism,” said 21 Asia-Pacific countries – including China, and all 12 TPP partners – on November 20.