Hot news

  • Three reasons why Japan should join the TPP

    The 2010 APEC meeting in Yokohoma ended one month ago but the Japanese media is still discussing whether or not Japan should join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Prime Minister Kan planned to announce Japan’s accession officially at the leaders’ meeting so as to make it a highlight of APEC 2010 but he had to postpone it until June next year because of strong objections of agricultural protectionists.

  • Trade policy needs to go global

    In East Asia and across the Pacific there has been a growing number of these bilateral agreements and there are as yet unfulfilled ambitions to negotiate various regional ‘free trade’ arrangements, within ASEAN + 3 or within ASEAN + 6 and APEC — where the Free Trade Agreement of Asia and the Pacific and, recently, the Trans Pacific Partnership, extending from a group of small Asia Pacific economies, have gained some favour.

  • APEC 2011: Can the US deliver?

    Delivering an end to the Doha Round is what all APEC governments want to see. It is far more valuable than any progress towards a TPP deal that, if ever concluded, may benefit some but create problems for others.

  • Obama in Asia

    One of the ongoing initiatives within APEC is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) started by four small and open economies: Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. The TPP is being extended to 5 other partner economies: Australia, US, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Japan has indicated interest in joining. The US hopes to conclude the negotiations in time for the leaders of the nine economies to sign the agreement in Honolulu next year. The TPP is a stepping stone to the ambitious goal of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). At the Yokohama Summit, the APEC leaders declared that, ‘now is the time for APEC to translate FTAAP from an aspirational to a more concrete vision’.

  • TPP, trade liberalisation and Japan’s farm lobby

    The Japanese cabinet decided its FTA trade policy on 9th November. The ‘Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships’ also refers to the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (TPP), stating ‘…it is necessary to act through gathering further information, and Japan, while moving expeditiously to improve domestic environment, will commence consultations with the TPP member countries’.

  • Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership idea a dead end?

    President Obama’s trip to India, Indonesia, the G20 in Korea and APEC in Japan was all about America’s new engagement with Asia. As he said in his address at APEC in Yokohama, America wants to gain its share in the growth of Asian markets as they become a more and more important part of the global economic opportunity. But what does America need to do to achieve that objective?

  • Japan: To TPP or not to TPP

    Japanese politicians are still debating whether Japan should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). TPP members are not allowed exclusions. Agriculture is the issue, specifically the domestic political constraints imposed by protection of that sector in Japan. At the same time, the business sector is pushing hard to join.

  • Asia in the ‘new American moment’

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ‘new American moment in international relations’ speech, delivered to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC on September 8, 2010, has been widely discussed and debated. Although the speech did not concern Asia only, it does signal important changes in the way the United States looks at Asia, especially its regional architecture.

  • Obama’s visit to Indonesia and Australia and the TPP

    Other US trade venues, the WTO Doha Round, the Korea FTA, and possible FTAs with ASEAN members, are not being forgotten and will be pursued if opportunities arise. But the TPP effort –representing Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam – now tops Washington’s trade agenda.

  • Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Worth the Fuss?

    United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the United States would enter into formal negotiations on a regional, Asia- Pacific trade agreement known formally as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (also known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP). The first negotiating session of this group will meet this week, March 15–19, in Melbourne, Australia. While any positive move from the Obama administration on trade is welcome—especially in light of almost a year's worth of neglect at best and protectionism at worst—there were ominous caveats and concessions in the announcement for those who cared to look. Those murky details call into question the true value of this deal, especially when more valuable, signature-ready agreements are sitting in the hopper.