America First = Giving Up, China First = Assuming World Leadership


U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the executive order on withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership after signing it as White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stands at his side in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the executive order on withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership after signing it as White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stands at his side in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Barack Obama holds meeting with Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) leaders at the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File photo

FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Barack Obama holds meeting with Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) leaders at the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File photo

Is that a joke that the US abandons TPP on its own and willingly cedes leadership of TPP to China instead of containing China by excluding it from TPP?

Reuters says in its report “After U.S. exit, Asian nations try to save TPP trade deal” today, “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted it (TPP) as an engine of economic reform, as well as a counter-weight to a rising China, which is not a TPP member.”

Now, according to Reuters, “Australia and New Zealand said on Tuesday they hope to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by encouraging China and other Asian countries to join the trade pact after U.S. President Donald Trump kept a promise to abandon the accord.” No wonder, without Chinese leadership, there are no hopes for such salvage.

Abe is shrewder than leaders of other TPP potential members. As soon as he learnt personally from Trump that Trump would withdraw from TPP, he began to curry favor with Chinese President Xi Jinping and asked him to send Premier Li Keqiang to attend the trilateral talks in Japan to facilitate the establishment of ASEAN plus 3 (Japan, China and South Korea) free trade area.

By scrapping TTP, Trump has given up US economic leadership in Asia Pacific. China, though does not pursue such leadership, willingly accept the gift Trump gives China free of charge.

Trump believes that world economic leadership, especially in Asia through TPP, does not benefit the US as the US has lost lots of jobs to Asian countries. He regards China as the top culprit, but China does not steal jobs from the US. Most goods China exports to the US are made by cheap labor, whose jobs cannot be taken back to the US as no American people are willing to take such low-wage jobs.

Taking jobs from Japan and South Korea is much more practical as wages in Japan and South Korea are comparable to Americans’ and American managers and workers are well capable of doing such jobs.

Japan and South Korea are now major exporters of goods that need the technology China lacks to produce. The US is in good position to take those jobs from Japan and South Korea for export to China as the US has even better technology.

Moreover, Trump will encourage US enterprises to create jobs in the US with tax incentives and simplification of regulations. Japanese, South Korean and other Asian-Pacific countries will have great difficulties to compete with US enterprises in US market. Their exports to the US will suffer greatly.

The US will become increasingly unpopular in those countries. As a result, the US will lose not only its economic leadership but also its military and cultural leadership.

South Korea has already had free trade area with China and is not much interested in TPP while Japan has placed great hope on TPP for revival of its economy.

With the developments described above, Japan has to place great hope on Chinese market. With Japan taking the lead, all other potential TPP members will regard China as their economic leader and China may even become their military and cultural leader when the US has lost its leadership while China has grown even stronger and richer.

Chinese leadership is especially welcome in poor Asian countries as the transfer of Chinese labor-intensive industries will create lots of jobs there; therefore, both the leader China and those Asian countries lead by China will be benefited by China’s leadership.

Interesting, the US wants to take away while China wants to give jobs. Who will be more popular? The answer is obvious.

Trump’s America first means for Asian-Pacific countries that the US gives up its leadership there and in addition takes away jobs and market share from them, a zero-sum consequence.

China’s China first, however, means China assuming leadership there that benefits both China and those countries, a win-win consequence.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:

After U.S. exit, Asian nations try to save TPP trade deal

By Charlotte Greenfield and Stanley White | WELLINGTON/TOKYO Tue Jan 24, 2017 | 6:36am EST

Australia and New Zealand said on Tuesday they hope to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by encouraging China and other Asian countries to join the trade pact after U.S. President Donald Trump kept a promise to abandon the accord.

The TPP, which the United States had signed but not ratified, was a pillar of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy to pivot to Asia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted it as an engine of economic reform, as well as a counter-weight to a rising China, which is not a TPP member.

Fulfilling a campaign pledge, Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office on Monday pulling the United States out of the 2015 TPP agreement and distancing the United States from its Asian allies.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had held discussions with Abe, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong overnight about the possibility of proceeding without the United States.

“Losing the United States from the TPP is a big loss, there is no question about that,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. “But we are not about to walk away … certainly there is potential for China to join the TPP.”

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not say directly whether China would be interested in joining the TPP but that at a time of economic uncertainly the Asia-Pacific should make its own contributions to growth with openness.

“We think that in the present situation, no matter what happens, all should keep going down the path of open, inclusive, continuous development, seeking cooperation and win-win,” Hua told a daily news briefing.

Obama had framed the TPP without China in an effort to write Asia’s trade rules before Beijing could, establishing U.S. economic leadership in the region as part of his “pivot to Asia”.

China has proposed a counter pact, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and has championed the Southeast Asian-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Hua said efforts on FTAAP should be stepped up, adding China hoped talks on RCEP could be concluded at an early date.

MEETINGS PLANNED

New Zealand’s English said the United States was ceding influence to China and the region’s focus could switch to alternative trade deals.

“We’ve got this RCEP agreement with Southeast Asia, which up until now has been on a bit of a slow burn, but we might find the political will for that to pick up if TPP isn’t going to proceed,” English said.

Malaysia’s trade minister said negotiators from the remaining TPP countries would be in “constant communication” to decide the best way forward.

“Notwithstanding the current position of the new U.S. administration on (TPP), we will continue to engage with our American colleagues to strengthen our bilateral trade and economic relations, given the U.S.’s importance as our third-largest trading partner and a major source of investment,” Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement.

The TTP, which has been five years in the making, requires ratification by at least six countries accounting for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the member nations.

Australia held open the possibility of China, the world’s top exporter, joining a revised deal.

“The original architecture was to enable other countries to join,” Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday.

“Certainly I know that Indonesia has expressed interest and there would be scope for China if we are able to reformulate it.”

Japan has led the push for the partnership, which includes Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.

“There is no change to our view that free trade is the source of economic growth,” Japanese Economy Minister Nobuteru Ishihara told reporters.

When asked whether Japan would be open to negotiating a bilateral trade pact with the United States, Ishihara said it was uncertain whether U.S. trade officials would start such negotiations.

Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said separately that Japan was not considering moves with other TPP members based on a lack of U.S. involvement.

“As Prime Minister Abe has made clear, TPP without the United States is meaningless and the balance of interests would crumble,” he told a news conference, adding Japan would keep explaining the benefits of the pact for America.

Abe had made TPP a core of his economic growth policies and along with the Obama administration, viewed it as strategically vital in the face of a rising China

Trump took office on Friday and pledged to end what he called an “American carnage” of rusted factories and crime. He vowed to bring jobs back by renegotiating what he called bad multilateral trade deals in favor of bilateral ones.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said he had talked with a number of TPP-member ministers at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week and he expected they would meet in coming months.

“The agreement still has value as a FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the other countries involved,” McClay said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Swati Pandey in SYDNEY, Ami Miyazaki and Linda Sieg in TOKYO, Liz Lee in KUALA LUMPUR and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Robert Birsel)

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17 Comments on “America First = Giving Up, China First = Assuming World Leadership”

  1. Joseph says:

    TPP or not, it will not make any difference anymore. What the American needs is jobs, and so do the rest of TPP members. The TPP only works when the overlord America provides cheap manufacturing jobs for its subjects/members. In a sense the American wants to replace China with the TPP members as it import source. It might work well in 1970s wealthy America. Today, even the ‘overlord’ is in debt and in serious need of jobs. And the only one that could provide jobs realistically is, China. To make matter worse, American manufacturing skill is declining so rapidly that even third world countries have better manufacturing skills. To make matter even worse for American, developing and third world countries can see the problem more clearly what the American cannot, and developing their self-sustaining industries. In the end, forget about manufacturing for the American, the American won’t be able to even manufacture cheap low quality products for our need. Does anyone notice how fast American stuff disappear from Asia? Instead, we have an invasion of cheap American hookers on tourist visa. That is the future of American exports. The great capitalist has gone Eastern European. And the American has the new first lady to match.

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  2. EASTERN LOOKING GLASS says:

    OBAMA’S FALSE NARRATIVE ABOUT THE TPP : TRUMP’S TRIUMPH & THE WORLD’S

    “Is that a joke that the US abandons TPP on its own and willingly cedes leadership of TPP to China instead of containing China by excluding it from TPP?”

    Whether it is a joke or not, that question of Amerika creating a discriminatory TPP should not had arisen in the first place; much less abandoning it subsequently with the changing of guard.

    Why?

    Firstly, the narrative of Amerika “drawing up the rules of trade and preventing the up and coming Chinese economic “David” from doing so instead”, is a false narrative.

    In a “free” world or “free market” environment as the Americans – Republicans or faux Democrats would like to tout ideologically ever so often, every small nimble spirited enterprise has equal chance of growing large while large established juggernauts has equally every chance of dying or relegated from the top if and becomes a lumbering fossilized, bureaucratic, uncreative and unenterprising business corporation. In other words, economically speaking that is, in a “free market” system, COMPETITION is the key to a vigorous, dynamic and prosperous business environment. NOT unfair rules.

    In other words, what the former Obama Administration tried to do therefore, went against the highly propagated’, sancrosanct (ie brainwashed) and rooted Amerikan ideology of capitalism and freedom that it has come to identified itself with.

    If this is the Western “New World Order” the rest of the world is supposed to endorse and live under, under the governorship and “guidance” of Washington, well, there is something wrong with it.

    Without question such a policy and grouping is foremost extremely hypocritical of a American leadership who had frequently without shame, trumpeted the virtues of freedom – laiseiz faire economy, democracy and capitalism – only to contradict itself, in practical terms. In the eyes of the world. Such inconsistency smacks of conmanship, scam, and scandal and does nothing but bring disrespect to Washington and Amerika from the rest of world it is trying to convince it is the great enlightened leader.

    Indeed and secondly, not only does such narrative, policy and action wrought disrepute to the U.S., it also serves to remove the blinkers once and for all from the eyes of the world, what Amerika was really all about under the former Obama/Hillary Administration : Amerika is a untrustworthy, scamming, unprincipled, OPPRESSIVE tyrannical state.

    For it must be remembered, a real leader MUST be fair and seen to be fair. It CANNOT enact DISCRIMINATORY rules against some in order to benefit itself and its vassals and sycophants at their expense as and whenever it likes. It CANNOT legislate itself into permanence of a place on the winners podium. For to do so is tantamount to “changing the bases” when they feel that they are losing and that is unacceptable.

    By moving or changing the bases to give themselves an improved chance of winning – a situation they denigratingly and falsely arrogate only to the Chinese by way of their nasty propagandistic term – “Chinese baseball or Chinese chess” – when it is very clear Washington is itself the supreme example and exponent par excellent of such disgusting tactics, can only cause the crowd in the stands to roar and shout in massive objection and disapproval and throw bottles and brickbats at the Amerikan team in the field.

    That is what it has come down to as the world has looked on in grave disapproval at the shameless tactics applied by the former Obama/Hillary Administration to keep the U.S. as global numero uno in economics et al.

    Shame. Shame on you Amerika under the era of Obama the Hypocrite.

    Which brings us to the third and last reason circumventing the argument why Obama narrative for a TPP is false is the fact that for America to be great and retain its global leadership while remaining true to ts ideology of “freedom”, IS to maintain its competitiveness by hook NOT by crook. The TPP was by crook, not by sheer intelligence and capability.

    America needs to retool, retrain, restructure, reinvent, and reinvest in itself. There’s is no shorcut to greatness. If it claims it is the greatest nation in the world with the cleverest, smartest, most intelligent, and capable peple in the world, then it should have no problem manifesting these in policies, governance, and decisions.
    Unfortunately, during the Bush and Obama/Hillary governorship, America was ruled by leaders of limited capability and intelligence and took America down the straight steep path down the cliff to confront its enemies, losing many to casualty of their own making in the process. One can only shake one’s head in utter amazement at the stupidity and inaneness of such leaders.

    Perhaps the changing of the guard, caused the markets to explode in optimism. It was no fluke. Common sense in the man-in-the-street or market says indeed there’s no short but only a rational logic-dictated path for a long dominant state like the U.S. to retain its competitiveness and number one position in the world, and win respect thereby from the rest in the process.

    That the TPP is dead is the right thing to do and how it should be. It should never had been created nor live in the first place.

    As a East Asian viewing this historical event, I say “jolly good show, Mr Trump”. Or perhaps I should say Hail Trump!” : One notch up for you in your achievements list. Now just don’t let that swell your head and start demanding “Hail Caesar!” from us next.

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    • Fuqu says:

      The TPP is the notorious racist Asians Exclusion Act revisited.

      Obama is/was a bl**dy b*st*rd.

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      • mad Max says:

        That such an economic policy was so racist in the extreme I am disappointed the other Anglo-Saxons – Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and even British – people in places where many of us studied and learnt why they are (or should I say, were?) great and civilized people. That they have failed to articulate and protest the overt racist overtones of the Obama Administration’s TPP is a sad day. Like Eastern Looking Glass, I take the Anglo-Saxon societies one notch down. They are seriously in danger of no longer remaining great.

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    • Yung-Jin says:

      And America and even Trump dares say China doe not abide by the WTO rule based trading. With the TPP, the former Obama Administration has no respect for the WTO but uses it as a doormat instead. It is correct to say Obama’s reign was the era of the Great Hypocrite.

      Will D Trump continue to be like so? Or different but same .. another mafiosque Godfather.

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  3. Steve says:

    China and other Asian leaders don’t need to join the TPP, just for the sake of New Zealand, Australia and Japan. China is a leading advocate of the FTAAP, which was already a counter weight to the US led TPP. According to a widely quoted and credible economic study, has compared the income gains from the FTAAP to those produced by the TPP, would be 8 times that of the 12 nation TPP – close to $2 trillion by 2025 and 3 times that of RCEP. China is sitting on the crest of the economic wave. These former TPP members are scoundrels.

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    • Simon says:

      I don’t mind if China excludes Japan in FTAAP.

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    • Tyler Reber says:

      I don’t think China wants to exclude any country from trade, especially if the US doesn’t want any trade deal while voicing threats to cut Chinas trade lines.

      Trump administration proves its strategy illiterate already by canceling its only legitmate reason to be in the south China sea, the TPP, even though he wants to be there. If China can reign in all the TPP countries into a win win trade agreement, then no country will support the US to cut chinas trade lines or cause any ruckus because in doing so, it will cut everyone elses trade lines with China. Will any country support the US then?

      China will not be so stupid as Trump.

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      • Steve says:

        True…

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      • Wei says:

        All America wants is a fair deal and for China to play by the rules. Its that simple.

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        • Steve says:

          What rules.? Just the last decade, America created mass genocide in Iraq, Syria, Libya by the millions and millions of refugees fleeing their homeland. The US supported ISIS and lied thru their teeth. Invaded Vietnam killing millions plus million boat refugees. The US are genocidal scoundrels. China is a member of WTO and UNCLOS. The US not part of UNCLOS and uses the WTO like a doormat. China has been wheeling and dealing with the US for decades on the basis of fairness on agreement. China is still a developing country. Remember Edward Snowden.? Spying on state leaders, mammas and papas.? Your ignorance is astounding or just acting stupid. The US company tax is what’s killing it’s industries. No one forced US manufacturing enterprises to leave US shores, it’s their govt. US enterprises have fled to Sth Korea and Japan over 30 years ago and later moved to China due to change of technologies and better infrastructures. Get your facts right. Why do you think countries set up FTAs like NAFTA, FTAAP, RCEP and so on, like the defunct TPP.?

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        • Simon says:

          America is “do as I say but not as I do”. America is also the biggest currency manipulator using the dollar as the default international currency it frequently prints more greenbacks to save its economy. No wonder why a country which does not manufacture much, not known for its export of goods but a nation of couch potatoes can be richest economy in the world.

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          • Steve says:

            True…America says, “do as I do but not as I do or out of the super highway.” They are bigotry bastards.

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  4. Simon says:

    Trump is a child in a mans body. He admitted his demeanor has not changed since he was still in secondary school. Trump’s father believe in Nazi style eugenics that means in order to produce superior offsprings you need a superior man and woman. Its kind of laughable when you see Trump next to Jack Ma, who is the richer man who began with nothing and who started out with a “million dollar loan” from his father and bankrupt four times!
    Trump was also brought up to believe either you are a winner or a loser, there is no win win or draw.

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  5. Tyler Reber says:

    If China were to join the TTP, What effects would that have on those countries positions on the south China sea? Would any of them consider supporting the US blockade of trade routes belonging to their new trading partner?

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    • Steve says:

      Its a separate issue. A naval blockade involves military allies, eg: US, Australia, UK, Japan and possibly New Zealand and Singapore. Nothing to do with FTAs. The TPP is a political tool to bar China off the agreement. The US believes China is a threat, but by creating the TPP, it is the US that is threatening stability in the Asia Pacific. China has weaved it’s economic prowess, diplomacy, military and commercial acquisitions worldwide. History has proven that when China rises, it rises to the Zenith. As it is, China’s economic powerhouse will remain favourable for decades. There is simply no competition to surpass China. Only scoundrel nations especially Western powers and Japanese Abe wants to contain China’s rise either politically or militarily.

      The US has high technology manufacturing enterprises, but such technologies can be learned, by acquisitions or transferred as in Sth Korea and Japan. There won’t be any blockade of trade routes other than Trump’s block-headache. If TPP is a disaster, imagine Trump’s blockhead to make America great again is an impending American disaster.

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