The Trans-Pacific Partnership remains unratified in the U.S. and elsewhere, but, eventually, it could become one of the defining accomplishments of President Obama’s foreign policy. Although other Asia stories have gotten more press lately, the TPP deserves attention. The WSJ gave it some last week, reporting on “the first detailed study of the pact”:
If the Pacific agreement is enacted, Vietnam would get the biggest percentage boost to its economy—about 10% by 2030—as its textiles and apparel industry gets new preferential access to the U.S. and other major markets. Japan would see extra economic growth of 2.7% by 2030 while the U.S. could expect additional economic growth of 0.4% by 2030, according to the study, released by the World Bank.
Malaysia’s economy would swell by 8% as its exporters acquire an advantage over regional competitors that aren’t part of the bloc, including Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico would see relatively smaller economic benefits coming from the TPP because they already opened their borders two decades ago to huge volumes of trade through the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta.
Arguably, the deal is just as important for the countries it does not include: China, Thailand, and Indonesia. Some hope that they will eventually feel pressure to join and perhaps make desirable concessions in the process. Others simply see the deal as a handy way to isolate Beijing. But, according to this study, the hit on China will be “negligible” and the agreement may in fact result in a “slight boost to exports” from the People’s Republic.