Chile Meeting Focuses on
Future Asia-Pacific Trade
Representatives from the 12 countries that
negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (The TPP), in addition to China and
South Korea, met last week in Chile to determine how to proceed with a regional
trade deal after President Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement
in January. The US was represented at the meeting by the US Ambassador to
Chile. The Chile meeting is a sign efforts to find an alternative Asia-Pacific
trade pact are moving ahead, with China now likely to take a more prominent
role. Negotiators are expected to build on the base of existing trade
agreements or the proposed 16 country Southeast Asian-backed Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP) that is led by China.
Australia is part of RCEP but so is India and while
they offer huge potential trade growth, India is also a focus of considerable
restraint to change as we have found out with our Free Trade Agreement with
India. The US has never been a member of RCEP.
At the same time as the trade meeting in Chile was
taking place, officials from the China‑led 16 nation Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP) concluded their 17th round of negotiations in Kobe,
Japan. This was the first round of RCEP talks since the US withdrew from the
Some progress was made in the talks but RCEP
participants continue to disagree on tariff reduction levels and intellectual
property rights, raising questions about whether negotiations can conclude by
the end of 2017, despite the opportunities the failure of the TPP now presents.
RCEP participants include Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and
India, plus the 10 ASEAN members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.