The TPP was believed to be dead and buried after Trump withdrew the US from it immediately after his inauguration in January 2017. After all, most aspirants in the November 2016 election – including Hillary Clinton, once a TPP cheerleader – had opposed it in the presidential campaign.
Trump National Economic Council director Gary Cohn has accused presidential confidantes of ‘dirty tactics’ to escalate the trade war with China.
Cohn acknowledged “he didn’t quit over the tariffs, per se, but rather because of the totally shady, ratfucking way Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and economic adviser Peter Navarro went about convincing the president to implement them.”
Cohn, previously Goldman Sachs president, insisted it “was a terrible idea that would only hurt the US, and not extract the concessions from Beijing Trump wanted, or do anything to shrink the trade deficit.”
But US allies against China, the Japanese, Australian and Singapore governments have tried to keep the TPP alive. First, they mooted ‘TPP11’ – without the USA.
This was later rebranded the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP (CPTPP), with no new features to justify its ‘progressive’ pretensions. Following its earlier support for the TPP, the PIIE has been the principal cheerleader for the CPTPP in the West.
Although US President Joe Biden was loyal as Vice-President, he did not make any effort to revive Obama’s TPP initiative during his campaign, or since entering the White House. Apparently, re-joining the TPP is politically impossible in the US today.
Panning the Trump approach, Biden’s US Trade Representative has stressed, “Addressing the China challenge will require a comprehensive strategy and more systematic approach than the piecemeal approach of the recent past.” Now, instead of backing off from Trump’s belligerent approach, the US will go all out.
[NEXT - PART THREE]