**Biden to Begin New Asia-Pacific Economic Bloc With a Dozen Allies**
**The goal is a resurgence in U.S. influence in the region, especially vis-à-vis China, after Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.**
**By Peter Baker and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, The New York Times, May 23, 2022**
**In addition to the United States, India, Japan and South Korea, the 13 members of the framework will include Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Together, the participating nations represent about 40 percent of the world economy, and any specific agreements that emerge from the grouping could go a long way toward setting standards even beyond its membership....the new framework, unlike T.P.P. and other traditional free trade pacts, will not reduce tariffs....The framework will focus on four main goals: harmonizing efforts to secure supply chains, expanding clean energy, fighting corruption and paving the way for greater digital trade. ...**
**The American vision for the region is ambitious, aiming to raise labor and environmental standards. But without offering more access to its market, analysts say, the United States does not have a lot of carrots to encourage those changes....** [end quote]
I didn’t realize it at first, but the framework announced today is not a “done deal” but a starting point that needs to be negotiated in detail and then submitted to each government for ratification. There’s a lot of U.S. politics involved which is described in the article.
This potentially useful trade framework is meant to be a counterweight for the successful China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership officially which went into force about 5 months ago, linking 15 Asia-Pacific economies in the world’s largest trade bloc.
Will it be approved within the next 12 to 18 months as hoped? If so, will it stand for a long time, unlike the TPP? Will it improve trade conditions?
Time will tell.