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China will not stand aside

East Russia asked the opinion of the leading researcher of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Isaev whether the PRC will be invited to the Trans-Pacific partnership created under the auspices of the United States

The agreement signed by 12 states on October 5 in Atlanta to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a very important event in early October in the most dynamically developing region of the world. After all, we are talking about yet another practical step to reformat modern international economic relations.

China will not stand aside

Alexander Isayev

Leading researcher, Deputy Head of the Center for the Study and Forecasting of Russian-Chinese Relations, IFES RAS
12 states - the USA, Canada, Mexico in North America, Peru and Chile in South America, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam in Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand became parties to the agreement. South Korea has already announced its desire to join.
Within the framework of the new agreement, it is proposed to create a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region, which will function according to the new rules and to some extent will replace the WTO rules.

Despite the continuing uncertainties with the new economic association, the secrecy of the decisions made, the forthcoming work on the development of documents regulating the activities of the association and new trade rules, the TPP issue caused a rather violent reaction in the region.
Immediately after the signing, US President Barack Obama was quick to announce that America cannot "allow countries like China to write the rules of the global economy," that it should "write these rules, opening up new markets for American products and setting high standards to protect workers and preserve the environment. ". And if Russia is not named in this context, then this does not indicate the weakness of our country or its unreadiness for Pacific integration. Rather, the desire not to remind once again of the special relationship between Moscow and Beijing. Like China, no one offered Russia to join the TPP.

Of course, among the parties to the agreement are the leading economic players in the Pacific Ocean, the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan. True, it was not they who initiated the TPP, but Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. It happened 10 years ago. The United States, on the other hand, entered into negotiations on its participation in three years, offering its own vision and rules for the operation of the association.
And although the countries that signed this agreement in Atlanta declared the openness of the organization being established, Barack Obama's statement is not only surprising, it is striking in its shamelessness and asophia, since it politicizes the organization from the very first steps.

Behind the perimeter of the structure being formed with a special economic regime, which will suit the parties to the agreement in Atlanta, and the declared high standards of integration and trade, there are other, very serious trade and financial centers of the APR. These countries are no less interested than the United States in reforming the system of international economic relations. They would like their national interests to be taken into account as well, just to the extent that the TPP takes into account or will take into account American interests.

By ignoring them, Washington poses both political and economic risks. Obama's statements on China show a clear political bias and a desire to keep China aside from the TPP, which is not quite typical for Americans who put economic expediency first.

Experts believe that the American administration is now focusing on containing China by unbalancing the economic system that has been formed by China in East and Southeast Asia for over 10 years in the form of free trade zones and other multilateral systems. Another task is to balance and then reduce the dominant role of the PRC in the APR, create new conditions for world and regional trade, in which China should feel less comfortable.

China is completely ignored - neither the United States, nor Canada, nor Australia, nor other TPP countries are able to. For example, Japan and South Korea, being supporters of the TPP, are historically and economically linked to China. And when new rules are invented, Tokyo and Seoul will take this circumstance into account. There are other factors as well.

China is becoming a major investor in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States remains the most attractive country for China. In recent years, Chinese investment in America has reached almost $ 72 billion. Australia has received from the Chinese just over $ 61 billion. Chinese investment in Canada is estimated at nearly $ 39,4 billion. According to experts, in Canada, the Chinese earn money from the energy industry. The US interests them in terms of finance. Well, Australia is primarily about the extraction and processing of metals.

In addition, the United States and Japan remain China's leading trading partners, and the three of them make up the group of the world's major economies.
There are also a number of factors that cast doubt on the "economic isolationism of China" in the APR, which Barack Obama preaches today. This is a series of well-known initiatives of Russia, China, South Korea, Mongolia aimed at intensifying integration processes in Eurasia, which will take place under the obvious influence of the development of the economic situation in the APR. The formation of institutions of interaction within the BRICS should also be added. All this together can lead to the creation of a new international economic order.

In these conditions, the main task for the current American administration is not to lose its influence on the world economy. But on the path of confrontation with China and the structures of which China is a member (BRICS, SCO, etc.), it is impossible to achieve this goal. Moreover, Obama has yet to convince congressmen of the need to develop the TPP. In the year of the election of the new US president, this will not be easy, especially since some of the candidates have already expressed their doubts about the correctness of the choice of Barack Obama. The opposition forces in Canada also have doubts, and discussions are under way in Australia. So it will take a long time before the TTP takes shape.
It seems that China will try to make full use of this time. Therefore, in any case, China will not remain aloof from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In Beijing, and not only there, they are well aware that without the PRC, the viability of the TPP will be limited. Therefore, China will certainly receive an invitation to participate in the new structure. The only question is when?
The United States will try to open doors for the Chinese, as well as for Russia, when the new rules are finalized and approved. New members will have to follow these rules, as is the case, for example, with the WTO. But China, in turn, will try to do so to participate in the development of these new rules.
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