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A container ship in Singapore: The trade-dependent city-state hopes the TPP 11 will provide an economic tailwind.   © Reuters
The Big Story

TPP 11: How Asia took the lead in free trade

The trans-Pacific pact will help business, but hopes remain for a US return

YASU OTA, Nikkei Asian Review columnist, SHUICHI MARUYAMA, Nikkei staff writer | China

SINGAPORE/MEXICO CITY -- Duong Ngoc Minh is sometimes called Vietnam's "Catfish King" for his role in creating a global market for panga, a fish known for its low price, white flesh and mild flavor. A type of shark catfish, the panga thrives in crowded aquafarms scattered throughout Vietnam's Mekong Delta region, resulting in plentiful fish at minimal costs. And as the world's appetite for seafood has grown in recent years, so has Minh's 15-year-old company, Hung Vuong, the country's leading panga exporter.

Minh, like others in Vietnam's fisheries industry, initially had high hopes for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, seeing it as a way to gain even greater access to the U.S. market. But after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the trade agreement last year, Minh has been forced to recalibrate his expectations.

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