Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Evaluation and Implications for East Asian Regionalism

Inkyo Cheong
JEL codes: 
ADBI Working Paper Series

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement seems to have reached a crossroads: it could either be a building block toward achieving economic integration in Asia and the Pacific, or trigger the formation of two large trade blocs which will work independently of one another. When the Government of Japan announced its participation in the TPP negotiations in March 2013, the partnership began to attract greater interest from other East Asian countries. This paper analyzes the progress and major issues regarding the current TPP negotiations which are being led by the United States, and draws implications for East Asian economic integration. The paper argues that the TPP should be promoted for its economic value, not for geopolitical purposes. It should be open to all Asia and Pacific countries, including the People’s Republic of China, the second-largest economy in the world and a growth engine for the world economy. The scope and coverage of the TPP should also be wide and comprehensive enough to induce a domino effect for economic integration in Asia and the Pacific.