CPTPP, RCEP and the Future of Asian Trade


Panel Discussion

While the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in January 2017 marked a step back from its role as a champion of regional trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific, other nations in the region have since taken up the mantle. From the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – the successor to the TPP, which will go into effect on December 30th – to negotiations to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by 2019, the future of trade in the Asia-Pacific is increasingly being shaped by Asians.

As the appeal of these agreements and others remains strong, economies in the region are increasingly looking to develop trading ties with new partners. Which economies will be the next to join CPTPP? Will China at some point express interest? What will a final RCEP look like, and what are the prospects of reaching agreement in 2019? How will greater economic integration affect individual economies in this dynamic region? How do these developments impact the U.S. as it pursues bilateral deals in the region?

To consider these questions and more, the Asia Society Policy Institute is organizing a discussion with foreign officials and Asia trade experts, including special guest Amb. Kenichiro Sasae, former Japanese Ambassador to the United States. Opening remarks provided by former U.S. Trade Representative, Amb. Michael Froman.

Registration will be open at 8:15 A.M., and speakers will take the stage at 8:30 a.m.


Wendy Cutler (moderator) is vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) the managing director of the Washington D.C. office. She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), including serving as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. In that capacity, she worked on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the bilateral negotiations with Japan. She also was the Chief Negotiator to the U.S.-Korea (Korus) Free Trade Agreement. 

Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae

Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae is the president and director general of the Japan Institute of International Affairs. Prior to taking his current position, he served as the Ambassador of Japan to the United States from 2012-2018. Amb. Sasae led a distinguished career of 44 years with Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2008-2010 and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2010-2012. He also served as director-general for the Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau from 2005 to 2008, and held various other positions both in Japan and abroad, including postings in the US, the UK, and Geneva.

Ambassador Ashok Mirpuri

Ambassador Ashok Mirpuri has served as the Ambassador to the United States of the Republic of Singapore since July 2012. Prior to his current appointment, he served as Ambassador to Indonesia from 2006 to 2012, High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2002 to 2006 and High Commissioner to Australia from 2000 to 2002.  A career diplomat, Mirpuri joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1984, holding various positions both at home and abroad. Mirpuri graduated with an honors degree from the National University of Singapore, and has an MA from University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies.

Ambassador Virachai Plasai

Ambassador Virachai Plasai is the Ambassador to the United States of the Kingdom of Thailand. Prior to his current appointment, he served as the permanent representative of Thailand to the United Nations, including serving as the chair of the Group of 77, as well as holding a posting as the ambassador to the Netherlands. Amb. Plasai has a long and distinguished career in the Thai government, including serving as a legal counsel on WTO disputes and on the Board of Directors for the Import-Export Bank of Thailand.

Peter Petri

Peter Petri is the Carl J. Shapiro professor of international finance at the Brandeis International Business School, as well as a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu and a Visiting Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C. His research focuses on international trade, finance, investment, and economic integration, with a recent emphasis on trade negotiations in the Asia-Pacific and numerous published works analyzing the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, including among different configurations of participants.

Michael Froman

Ambassador Michael Froman is Vice Chairman and President of Strategic Growth for Mastercard. He previously served as the U.S. Trade Representative during the Obama Administration from 2013-2017, during which he led, among other things, the conclusion of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Prior to that, he served as the Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor on International Economic Affairs from 2009-2013. He has previously served in a number of senior executive positions at Citigroup.


Event Details

Thu 10 Jan 2019
8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

The Mayflower Hotel,

District Ballroom

1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 


Add to Calendar 20190110T133000 20190110T153000 UTC Asia Society: CPTPP, RCEP and the Future of Asian Trade The Mayflower Hotel, District Ballroom 1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036