In a recent People’s Daily report, several Chinese scholars gave their opinions on the following question: The TPP agreement was originally seen as the United States’ Asian rebalancing strategy to contain China. Trump decided to change the U.S. policy and withdraw from the TPP. What effect will this have on the two sides?
According to Yuan Zheng, Director of the American Foreign Affairs Department at the American Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “The United States’ retreat from the TPP and the resulting policy adjustments greatly disappointed its allies. In fact, it damaged the United States’ political reputation and shattered the emotional balance of member countries.” Yuan cited the responses of leaders from a number of TPP member countries to support his observation; he said Japan was the most prominent one.
According to Wang Wen, Executive Director of the Finance Institute of Renmin University of China, “The U.S. exit from the TPP is not entirely a good thing for China. The future will present many challenges.” He did not think that the withdrawal of the United States from the TPP would entirely benefit China’s interests. Wang thought that the U.S. withdrawal would have two major effects. One is that it would change the expectation of a global trend in international trade. The expectation of the two major trade competitions between the U.S.-led regional trade liberalism and the China-led free trade zone would change. First, Trump may introduce new policies for future global trade. Therefore, global trade may become more uncertain. Second, China is in a critical period with both opportunities and challenges in development. It is very challenging for China to deal with the uncertainty of the international situation in the new era of unwinding the TPP. The original TPP member countries will continue to increase demands on China. It may enhance China’s trade discourse, but it will also increase China’s responsibilities and the burden on the global trade system.
Zhang Tengjun, a researcher at the American Studies Section of the International Studies Institute of China, also believed that the United States withdrawal from the TPP would relieve some pressure on China. However, what measures Trump will introduce to safeguard the interests of the United States in the Asia Pacific and even in international society remains to be seen.
Source: People’s Daily, November 29, 2016