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Editorial 23rd Nov:

1. US exit from TPP to impact security architecture in Asia-Pacific:

With more than five years of negotiation, TPP, one of the most ambitious free
trade deals negotiated between developing and developed countries, officially
entered into an agreement in February.

US President-elect Donald Trump has resolved to undo the Obama

administration’s recalibration of Asia-Pacific strategic equations by pulling out of
the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

What’s good about TPP?

unleash new economic growth

improve people’s living standards by facilitating the free cross-border
movement of key factors of economic activity, such as goods, people, money, and


jobs will move from the US to developing countries.

negative ramifications for users’ freedom of expression, right to privacy and
due process, as well as hindering peoples’ abilities to innovate.
lack of transparency, threatens to impose more stringent copyright without
public input, and pressures foreign governments to adopt unbalanced laws.
paves the way for companies to sue governments that change policy on, say,
health and education to favour state-provided services.
intensify competition between countries’ labour forces.

Why Trump is against this deal?

He thinks such deals will hurt American workers and undercut US companies. His
stance on trade is protectionist: he has vowed to shield Americans from the
effects of globalised trade by slapping hefty tariffs on cheap Chinese imports of
up to 45%.

Good News for China?

President Obama’s Asia pivot strategy: aim was to counter China’s growing clout
by bringing together its neighbours and reduce their dependence on Chinese
trade. With US’ exit, China now has more space to flex its muscles in the region.
Implications for India:

Walking out from TPP threatens the US strategy of rebalancing Asia, which
amounted to India-Japan-US security cooperation. This will force India — where
US anchored its Asia-Pacific policy — to rethink its Look East Initiative.

 India was not part of the TPP, but it has been an important instrument of
realpolitik for Washington to counter the rise of an assertive China.
 US saw India’s role as the “lynchpin” of the strategy.
 US’ “Pivot to Asia” and India’s “Act East” policies conflate. And India: a greater
role in providing security and stability in the region.
 The two strategies have been shaping the security order in the region as India
was reinvigorating its ties with Asian powers like Japan and Australia
 India should not be complacent because of the current uncertainty
surrounding TPP. We must fully understand the implications of the various TPP
disciplines and how we should strategise ourselves in response to the very many
ways they can impact us.


Now the way forward from an uninterested US could be strengthening economic

ties between ASEAN countries. Alongside, the way forward for Asia is to intensify
efforts towards a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP
is seen as a counter to TPP as it would include more than 3 billion people or 45%
of the world’s population, and would have a combined GDP of about $21.3 trillion,
accounting for about 40% of world trade.