Trans-Pacific Partnership: Geopolitical Implications for EU-US Relations

24-06-2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), if enacted, will reshape trade and investment flows between the United States, Asia, and Europe. Together, these agreements encompass more than 60 % of the global economy, including the leading industrial economies of North America, the European Union and Japan. TPP is the economic anchor of the US ‘pivot’ to Asia. TPP is as much a geopolitical project to reinforce US leadership in Asia as it is a deal driven by an economic logic of spurring new sources of trade and investment. The EU has concluded or is negotiating a series of bilateral trade and investment agreements, including with Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand. But Europe as a whole needs to take a more strategic and coherent approach to Asia, beyond commerce and investment ties, and particularly to unify its approach to China. This is a compelling requirement given both China’s enormous economic power and the risks its ascendancy poses to the liberal international order. Beyond the politics around both trade deals, however, lies a conviction among trade liberalisers in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres that the agreements could provide a positive shock to a global economy badly in need of new engines of growth.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), if enacted, will reshape trade and investment flows between the United States, Asia, and Europe. Together, these agreements encompass more than 60 % of the global economy, including the leading industrial economies of North America, the European Union and Japan. TPP is the economic anchor of the US ‘pivot’ to Asia. TPP is as much a geopolitical project to reinforce US leadership in Asia as it is a deal driven by an economic logic of spurring new sources of trade and investment. The EU has concluded or is negotiating a series of bilateral trade and investment agreements, including with Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand. But Europe as a whole needs to take a more strategic and coherent approach to Asia, beyond commerce and investment ties, and particularly to unify its approach to China. This is a compelling requirement given both China’s enormous economic power and the risks its ascendancy poses to the liberal international order. Beyond the politics around both trade deals, however, lies a conviction among trade liberalisers in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres that the agreements could provide a positive shock to a global economy badly in need of new engines of growth.