How the United States Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Benefits China
University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Public Affairs, 2019 Forthcoming
32 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 7, 2018
Only days after his inauguration as U.S. President, Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “mega” regional free trade agreement that would have established the world’s largest free trade zone. Although President Trump announced that the withdrawal was justified because the TPP was an unfair agreement, the Trump Administration seems to have ignored or been unaware of the negative consequences of the decision: (1) as a consequence of the U.S. withdrawal, China has achieved a major strategic advantage in Asia through its own rival free trade agreement and now will be able to write the rules for trade in Asia and possibly beyond; and (2) the TPP would have resulted in significant economic gains to the United States as supported by a large body of economic studies analyzed in this article. Although the U.S. withdrawal has harmed its own interests, the decision is reversible because the United States can rejoin the TPP. While the path to reentry seems smooth at the moment, there is urgency for U.S. action. Reentering the TPP could become much more difficult if China first joins as the United States will need the approval of all TPP members, including China, to rejoin.
Keywords: Trans-Pacific Partnership, International Trade Law, International Law, World Trade Organization, China
JEL Classification: K10, K20, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation