24 January 2017   Leave a comment

President Trump has withdrawn the US from the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) the multilateral trade agreement drawn up by the US and other Pacific rim countries (except China).  The TPP was focused on much more than trade–it also included agreements on intellectual property rights, environmental protections, and global standards for workers’ rights.  The withdrawal marks a very sharp departure from US foreign policy since 1945 and a massive void in the global economic regime.  It may be the case that President Trump will try to negotiate substitute bilateral agreements, but China has already launched its own competing trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).  RCEP is far less ambitious than the TPP but it excludes the US.

The States Negotiating within the RCEP

RCEP Is Not the Anti-TPP

White House spokesperson, Sean Spicer, reiterated the position taken by Rex Tillerson, the Trump Administration’s nominee for Secretary of State, on the US position vis-a-vis Chinese claims in the South China Sea. In a press briefing he said that: “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country”.  China has advised the US not to intervene in the issue and warned it to behave with “caution.”  Both the US and China are forging a path into some very dangerous waters.

south china seas

Israel has announced its intention to build 2,500 more settlement houses in the occupied West Bank.  This is the second such announcement Israel has made since the inauguration of President Trump.  In a marked departure from previous administrations, the US government chose not to comment on the announcement.  In the past, the US has always regarded such building as an obstacle to peace.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Trump soon.

Posted January 24, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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