The TPP Precedent and the RCEP Reality: Multilateralism in the Asia Pacific, Part 1

In direct affirmation of his campaign promise, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) just days into his first term. This set an unmistakable precedent not only for the “America First” administration, but also for the future of greater Asia-Pacific-U.S. relations. U.S. disengagement has drastically altered the course of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, fostering the emergence of new deals, new institutions, and new regional leadership. Last fall, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) annual meeting, the leaders of the world’s two largest economies took the stage to espouse two fundamentally competing ideas for...

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