Pursue TPP Implementation Without US – Expert

Pursue TPP Implementation Without US – Expert
KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 (Bernama) — The remaining 11 countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should push forward the implementation of the trade agreement despite the US withdrawal, said Senior Fellow at the US Peterson Institute for International Economics, Jeffrey J. Schott.

Pursuing the pact would help the region continue with regional integration, he told Bernama on the sidelines of the three-day 31st Asia Pacific Forum (APR) here recently.

Schott said TPP’s provisions stipulated mostly economic reforms, which would help the countries to be more productive, competitive and attractive for investments.

He also said the US’ withdrawal from the TPP was a strategic blunder, and that it would be difficult for President Donald Trump’s administration to establish new bilateral trade deals because it has to be comprehensive and the TPP was a comprehensive trade pact.

Trump formally withdrew US from the TPP when he took office early this year, leaving the pact with other signatories namely Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

Schott said the TPP, with or without the US on board, was still viable for implementation because the 11 nations did not require the trade deal to access the American market as most of them already had good access to it.

“There are few restrictions in the US market. In most areas it is relatively open but for other TPP countries, it (the pact) will help them pursue domestic economic reforms and break barriers with other markets.

“Essentially, it will help Malaysia get better access to the Japanese market and it will continue if the 11 countries continue to move forward with the deal,” he added.

On the latest development, he said that the 11 nations were working to keep the ship afloat and continue to use the agreement constructively to promote economic development.

The countries are expected to meet in November this year, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting in Vietnam.

The APR, themed “The Future of the Asia-Pacific: Issues and Institutions In Flux” was organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia, supported by ASEAN-ISIS. Some 300 participants including government officials, policymakers, private and corporate sectors and academicians participated in the event.