President Trump used his recent trip to Asia to once again insist on “free, fair, and reciprocal” trade as part of a strategy to reduce bilateral trade deficits. The president also reiterated that multilateral free trade agreements are not an option for his administration, and that in order to maximize U.S. leverage, only bilateral agreements will be considered.
Meanwhile, with finalization of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in sight, an announcement by the 11 remaining member countries provided a noted contrast with Trump’s rhetoric and underscored the point that the region is moving ahead on trade with or without the United States. Further, and without U.S. participation, China is leading efforts to spur new multiparty trade agreements in the Pacific region through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and in Eurasia, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa by way of the One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative.
What does it mean for regional trade liberalization as these two differing strategies play out? What should U.S. lawmakers understand about the situation, and how can we best ensure that the enhanced prosperity that often accompanies free trade continues into the future? Join our experts as they assess the implications of these developments and explore the overall state of trade in Asia.