WASHINGTON, D.C., March 7, 2017 — In the wake of the U.S. exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Asian policymakers should promote TPP standards through all means available, and strive this year to improve the quality of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, according to a Commission convened by the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).
The Independent Commission on Trade Policy is comprised of seven former trade negotiators and academics from the Asia-Pacific region. In the report, Charting a Course for Trade and Economic Integration in the Asia-Pacific, the Commission examines the regional trade landscape and presents recommendations for policymakers on the best path forward in the Asia-Pacific region to liberalize trade, raise standards, promote inclusiveness and encourage broad economic reforms.
“Trade is under attack. On top of slowing trade worldwide, there’s a rising backlash against globalization,” says Commission chair Wendy Cutler, Vice President of ASPI and former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. “But trade can be a force for good by promoting economic growth, raising incomes, creating jobs, reducing poverty, and advancing much-needed domestic reforms to modernize and open economies.”
The Commission makes a number of pragmatic recommendations which aim to promote high standards and inclusiveness in trade agreements, drive forward regional economic integration, build support for trade agreements by better communicating their benefits, and work with multilateral fora to help assuage the concerns of those who fear being disenfranchised by trade and globalization.
The recommendations include:
Countries that “do not participate in trade liberalization and the pursuant reforms are likely to be left by the wayside,” Kevin Rudd, ASPI President and former Prime Minister of Australia, writes in the report’s foreword. “Should protectionism and isolationism prevail, the Asia-Pacific region could become less open and integrated, upsetting the regional economic and security balance.”
The Commission Members are:
The Commission report will be launched March 7 at the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
About the Asia Society Policy Institute
For 60 years, the Asia Society has sought to explain the diversity of Asia to the United States and the complexity of the United States to Asia, and to be a bridge in problem-solving within the region and between Asia and the wider world. With a problem-solving mandate, the Asia Society Policy Institute builds on this mission by tackling major policy challenges confronting the Asia-Pacific in security, prosperity, sustainability, and the development of common norms and values for the region.
Asia Society Press Office