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RCEP is more than TPP-lite

Setting the record straight on ASEAN's initiative

| China
RCEP is designed to give its 16 members a framework for ongoing discussions on trade and investment issues.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership appears to have been captured by those developing a "U.S. vs. China" narrative to explain the state of play in global trade. However, the positioning of RCEP as a Chinese-led competitor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership advanced as part of an American pivot to Asia strategy is simply wrong.

Consider this recent comment by Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council of Foreign Relations. He wrote: "Only days after [Donald] Trump's election, leaders from Australia, Malaysia and other nations that promoted the TPP changed course and embraced a rival China-led agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which Beijing has been pushing for years. RCEP, which pointedly excludes the U.S., would allow China much more influence to set regional trade rules and norms."

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