Treat CPTPP as an opportunity

This caught my eye:

China has applied to join an Asia-Pacific trade pact once pushed by the U.S. as a way to isolate Beijing and solidify American dominance in the region.

The country submitted a formal application letter to join the deal, known officially as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a statement late Thursday in Beijing.

This is great news. China should be welcomed into the CPTPP if it agrees to adhere to all of their rules (currently it does not.) There should be a provision that no CPTPPP member is allowed to impose economic sanctions on another member in response to any sort of “free speech” in any member country. Today, China retaliates against speech that it opposes in other countries. If China wants to join under those conditions, then let it in. We should encourage any agreement that makes China less nationalistic, less of a rogue nation. (Ditto for the US.)

A number of members of Congress have been calling for the U.S. to either rejoin the CPTPP or to be more active on trade diplomacy in the region. However, the Biden administration hasn’t announced any concrete trade policies for the region, although there are reports it’s discussing a digital trade deal covering Asia-Pacific economies. 

“The future of technology, trade and defense is either going to be led by the Chinese Communist Party or by the United States and our allies,” U.S. Senator Ben Sasse said in response to the news. “If China sees the value in building alliances across the Pacific, why can’t the United States? Let’s get back into a position of leadership instead of retreat.”

Ben Sasse is correct. (He’s one of the few members of the GOP who has not entirely caved in to Trumpism.) And yet I’m not optimistic. I predicted that Biden would be a lousy president, and so far I’ve been right. (Although he’s still 100 times better than Trump.)

BTW, the WaPo has a good article on how our misguided cold war with China is leading to the arrest of lots of Chinese-American scientists on trumped up charges of “spying”.



4 Responses to “Treat CPTPP as an opportunity”

  1. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    21. September 2021 at 07:58

    The TPP excluded China because it was intended as an alternative to China. How was the TPP intended as an alternative? By supporting the building of supply chains in Asian countries other than China. I thought that a policy of confrontation misguided, but foreign policy is often misguided. My grandfather was an army surgeon in the Philippine during wartime. No, not WWII but during the Spanish American War and the Philippine American War that followed. In that second war, not only did the Japanese not want us there, neither did the Filipinos. Today, why would we want to drive the Philippines into an alliance with China? If the Philippines are the gateway to the Pacific (that is their strategic position), shouldn’t we bridge our differences instead? My problem with all of this is that it’s driven by domestic U.S. politics not effective foreign policy strategy.

  2. Gravatar of Ning Ning
    22. September 2021 at 19:05

    Biden might be correct from a political economy point of view. No doubt joining trade agreements are usually good from an economic POV. The question being, how much relative to the political capital expended? Probably not that much these days. Especially not with the IP protections and ability for corporations to sue sovereign governments, like the tobacco companies. Not much a believer in free trade when it threatens corporate profits!

    As for the GOP – pfft. They’ll encourage it now, and then when a Trumpist type gets power, they’ll start going on about how the Democrats sold America out. Don’t forget the Democratic base isn’t exactly enamored with these deals to begin with. So not worth the political capital.

  3. Gravatar of nick nick
    5. October 2021 at 12:46

    This tantamount to having a gun pointed at you, and saying “well, he hasn’t fired yet”.

    China has no interest in playing by the rules. They are interested in power. They are interested in subjugation. They are interested in obedience and oppression.

    They are not going to suddenly change.

    Xi Jinping and Hitler have a lot in common.

    Cold war is necessary, or we will end up in a hot war. Unlike Sumner, who is a former draft dodger that now loves the idea of war from his desk, most of us prefer NOT to send our men (and now thanks to liberals our woman) to their deaths.

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. October 2021 at 13:41

    Nick, How’d our cold war with Japan during the 1930s work out? Did that prevent a hot war?

    And when did I dodge the draft? Be specific.

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