Obama pushes Trans-Pacific Partnership

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The US president will meet China’s newly designated leader Xi Jinping (pictured) during his Southeast Asia trip to discuss China’s possible involvement in the trans-pacific trade pact.

US president Barack Obama, who is embarking on a Southeast Asia round trip in the coming week, will be pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

On November 10 at a meeting in Hawaii, Obama announced the framework for the vast free-trade agreement spanning the Pacific as he sought a new era of US leadership in a fast-growing region.

The TPP was signed in 2005 as an obscure agreement between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Obama suddenly turned it into the cornerstone of the US free-trade drive, with Australia, Japan, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia  and other ASEAN nations now also in the talks.

When Obama arrives in Thailand on his first post-election trip abroad, it is expected that he and Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will announce Thailand’s entry into the TPP.

The Thai cabinet on November 12 agreed to the proposal tabled by the commerce ministry to have Yingluck announce the pact in a joint press statement with Obama, the country’s government said on its website.

Currently, the US, Brunei, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico are members of the TPP.

Apart from Thailand, Japan and South Korea, two more countries, namely the Philippines and Taiwan, have also expressed keen interest in the TPP.

With the exclusion of China, the move is seen by some as an attempt to counter the rising economic clout of Beijing and to assert more US influence on Asia.

The US has not explicitly ruled out China’s entrance into the TPP, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has linked the trade agreement to fundamental values, including openness, labour standards and intellectual property rights. Obama has repeatedly warned Beijing that it must “play by the rules.”

Obama is expected to meet with China’s new president in waiting, Xi Jinping, at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia on November 20, although no details have been released yet. He will most likely also be holding talks with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US president will meet China’s newly designated leader Xi Jinping (pictured) during his Southeast Asia trip to discuss China’s possible involvement in the trans-pacific trade pact.

US president Barack Obama, who is embarking on a Southeast Asia round trip in the coming week, will be pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US president will meet China’s newly designated leader Xi Jinping (pictured) during his Southeast Asia trip to discuss China’s possible involvement in the trans-pacific trade pact.

US president Barack Obama, who is embarking on a Southeast Asia round trip in the coming week, will be pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

On November 10 at a meeting in Hawaii, Obama announced the framework for the vast free-trade agreement spanning the Pacific as he sought a new era of US leadership in a fast-growing region.

The TPP was signed in 2005 as an obscure agreement between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Obama suddenly turned it into the cornerstone of the US free-trade drive, with Australia, Japan, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia  and other ASEAN nations now also in the talks.

When Obama arrives in Thailand on his first post-election trip abroad, it is expected that he and Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will announce Thailand’s entry into the TPP.

The Thai cabinet on November 12 agreed to the proposal tabled by the commerce ministry to have Yingluck announce the pact in a joint press statement with Obama, the country’s government said on its website.

Currently, the US, Brunei, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico are members of the TPP.

Apart from Thailand, Japan and South Korea, two more countries, namely the Philippines and Taiwan, have also expressed keen interest in the TPP.

With the exclusion of China, the move is seen by some as an attempt to counter the rising economic clout of Beijing and to assert more US influence on Asia.

The US has not explicitly ruled out China’s entrance into the TPP, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has linked the trade agreement to fundamental values, including openness, labour standards and intellectual property rights. Obama has repeatedly warned Beijing that it must “play by the rules.”

Obama is expected to meet with China’s new president in waiting, Xi Jinping, at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia on November 20, although no details have been released yet. He will most likely also be holding talks with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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