It is a strange world in which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump confirms his intention to quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement on his first day in office, just after Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for a new Asia-Pacific trade deal. Yet, as Trump's campaign rhetoric starts to become reality, the adverse consequences for Asian countries, especially China, will become increasingly clear.
Trade has always been at the center of the dominance that the U.S. and China seek in the Asia-Pacific region. U.S. President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia" incorporated military and security arrangements and assurances, but the TPP was at the heart of the strategy. Xi is pursuing China's regional hegemony by building a structure around initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the "One Belt, One Road" strategy, and more recently, its own trade agreements.