Southeast Asia Trade Agreement

In the longer term, Li called the agreement a “victory for multilateralism and free trade.” The agreement has powerful symbolic effects, showing that nearly four years after Trump launched his “America First” policy of trade agreements with individual countries, Asia remains committed to multinational nations` efforts to secure freer trade, seen as a formula for future prosperity. Green says the U.S. will “regret” having two major multilateral agreements on the margins. He says this will bring two benefits to China: “On the one hand, there will be a narrative in the region that China is the new leader that has the most influence on trade and rules. And the second is that it will reduce barriers to trade with China at a time when the United States is doing nothing to reduce barriers to trade with the United States.┬áHe also said that after he took office, labour and environmentalists “will be at the table of all the trade agreements we make.” It will take time for the exact details of the agreement, which includes tariff plans and rules for the 15 countries involved, to be fully evaluated – the tariff plan for Japan is only 1,334 pages long. The trade agreement allows China – by far the largest economy and the most populous country in the region – to call itself “a champion of globalization and multilateral cooperation,” Gareth Leather, Asia`s chief capital economic economist, said in a report. Analysts are skeptical that Biden will insist that he re-agree on the Trans-Pacific trade pact or push back many U.S. trade sanctions imposed on China by the Trump administration, given the widespread frustration of Beijing`s trade and human rights balances and accusations of espionage and technology theft. “The economic benefits of the agreement may be marginal for Southeast Asia, but there are some interesting trade and customs dynamics for Southeast Asia,” said Nick Marro of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Although these ASEAN national customs and trade authorities coordinate with each other, disputes can arise.

The ASEAN secretariat does not have the legal authority to resolve these disputes, so disputes are resolved bilaterally through informal means or dispute resolution. A third option is to highlight a strengthened commitment to soft power, coupled with narrow but firm security obligations. This approach would build on the strengths of the United States and take time to take more ambitious initiatives.