October 24, 2015
China left out of the TPP
In an understatement, you say that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal “has flaws” (“Every
silver lining has a cloud”, October 10th). The most glaring one that you did not flag is that
China, the largest Pacific Rim trading nation and the world’s top exporter, was deliberately left
out by America. As a result, TPP is the near-equivalent of NAFTA without the United States. It
is a protectionist regional device to contain China’s further rise as the world’s number one
The share of world trade of the pact’s two biggest countries, America and Japan, has been
declining for some time in world and Pacific exports, because of the spectacular rise of China.
TPP confirms once again that Washington’s China policy is less about win-win situations and
more about seeking zero-sum outcomes, in this case by creating an integrated counter-weight to
China in East Asia. The deal was designed to establish America as a leader in Pacific trade.
The WTO does not describe regional trading deals as preferential trade agreements for nothing:
one implicit objective is to discriminate against non-members. The pact’s signatories would be
wise to leave the door open to newcomers, including China.
Former lead economist at the