Should-Read: Bob Davis: Why Trump’s Scorn for Pacific Trade Pact May Have Been Hasty

Should-Read: Bob Davis: Why Trump’s Scorn for Pacific Trade Pact May Have Been Hasty: “On his first workday in the Oval Office, President Trump killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He will probably spend the rest of his term trying to revive parts of it…

…The pact plowed new ground favorable to U.S. interests, going well beyond the tariff and subsidy cuts found in traditional trade deals. TPP would have given a boost to e-commerce by limiting restrictions on data flows and prohibiting any of the participating countries from requiring computer servers be located domestically… required state-owned enterprises to operate like commercial companies rather than political tools…. Intellectual property protection would have been strengthened and restrictions to competition in services reduced. These are all longstanding goals of the U.S., which is a leader in technology and finance and wants to beat back efforts to constrain U.S. cross-border dominance.

Because it included Canada and Mexico, it was in effect a backdoor renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, something the Trump administration is demanding. Second, although it didn’t include China, it would have cemented relations with other Asian nations and given the U.S. a stronger hand in dealing with Beijing…. Some Trump trade officials are starting to come to the same conclusion. “We should learn from, and build on earlier negotiated trade agreements,” said U.S. Trade Representative nominee Robert Lighthizer in mid-March confirmation proceedings. “In a renegotiation of Nafta, we should consider incorporating those provisions (in TPP) as well as improving areas where we may be able to go beyond TPP.” Two weeks later, the administration sent to Capitol Hill Nafta negotiating objectives which echoed TPP provisions on intellectual property, digital trade and services trade, state-owned enterprises and labor and environmental standards…


Brad DeLong


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