August 25, 2016
The leading alternative to reducing trade barriers in Asia is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The RCEP negotiations exclude the United States, just as the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations exclude China.
Rival powers Japan and China are cooperating in RCEP negotiations. The trade liberalization objectives in the RCEP are less ambitious than those of the TPP. The TPP originated as negotiations among Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei, but the United States joined the negotiations nearly a decade ago and immediately challenged the participants to aim for an ultra-deep degree of trade and investment liberalization along with high standards in environment, labor and food safety. These high standards are keeping China out of the TPP and giving other participants in the negotiations headaches.
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