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China will not stand aside
East Russia asked the opinion of the leading researcher of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Isaev whether the PRC will be invited to the Trans-Pacific partnership created under the auspices of the United States
Signed by 12 states 5 October in Atlanta agreement on the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) has become a very important event in early October in the most dynamically developing region of the world. After all, we are talking about one more practical step in reformatting modern international economic relations.
Alexander Isayev Leading researcher, Deputy Head of the Center for the Study and Forecasting of Russian-Chinese Relations, IFES RAS
Under the new agreement, it is proposed to create a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region, which will function under the new rules, and to some extent replace the WTO rules.
Despite the continuing uncertainties with the new economic association, the tremen- dous decisions taken, the forthcoming work on the development of documents regulating the activities of the association and the new rules of trade, the issue of the TTP caused a rather violent reaction in the region.
Immediately after the signing, US President Barack Obama hastened to announce that America can not "let countries like China write rules for the global economy" that it must "write these rules, opening new markets for American products and setting high standards for the protection of workers and the preservation of the environment ". And if Russia is not called in this context, then it does not speak of the weakness of our country or of its unpreparedness for Pacific integration. But rather the desire not to remind once again about the special relationship between Moscow and Beijing. Like China, Russia was not invited to join the TTP.
Of course, among the parties to the agreement are the leading economic players in the Pacific, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. True, it was not they who initiated the TTP, but Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. It happened 10 years ago. The United States went to negotiations on its participation after three years, offering its own vision and rules for the functioning of the union.
And although the signatories of the agreement in Atlanta declared the openness of the established organization, Barack Obama's statement is not just surprising, it amazes with its shamelessness and asofiynost, since from the very first steps the organization politicizes.
Over the perimeter of the emerging structure with a special economic regime that will suit the participants of the Atlanta agreement and the declared high standards of integration and trade, there were other, very serious commercial and financial centers of the APR. These countries are no less interested in the United States in reforming the system of international economic relations. They would like to see their national interests taken into account, just as much as the TTP takes into account or will take into account American interests.
Ignoring them, Washington poses both political and economic risks. Obama's statements on China show a clear political commitment and a desire to keep China away from the TTP, which is not quite typical for Americans who put economic expediency in the first place.
Experts believe that the US administration today focuses on deterring China by unbalancing the economic system, which China has been forming in East and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years in the form of free trade zones and other multilateral systems. Another task is to balance and then reduce the dominant role of the PRC in the APR, to create new conditions for global and regional trade, in which China should feel less comfortable.
Fully ignore China - neither the United States, nor Canada, nor Australia, nor other TTP countries are able to. For example, Japan and South Korea, being supporters of the TTP, are historically and economically associated with China. And when new rules are invented, Tokyo and Seoul will take this circumstance into account. There are other factors.
China is becoming a major investor in the Asia-Pacific region. The most attractive country for China is the United States. In recent years, Chinese investments in America have reached almost $ 72 billion. Australia received from Chinese just over $ 61 billion. Chinese investments in Canada are estimated at almost $ 39,4 billion. Experts estimate that in Canada, the Chinese make money on the energy sector. The US interests them in terms of finances. Well, Australia - is primarily the extraction and processing of metals.
In addition, the US and Japan remain China's leading trading partners, and the three of them form a group of major economies of the world.
There are a number of factors that cast doubt on the “economic isolationism of China” in the APR that B. Obama is preaching today. This is a series of well-known initiatives of Russia, China, South Korea, Mongolia, aimed at intensifying the integration processes in Eurasia, which will take place under the obvious influence of the development of the economic situation in the APR. The formation of institutions of interaction within the framework of BRICS should also be added. All this in sum may lead to the creation of a new international economic order.
Under these conditions, the main task for the current US administration is not to lose its influence on the world economy. But on the ways of confrontation with China and the structures in which China enters (BRICS, SCO, etc.), it is impossible to achieve this goal. Moreover, Obama still has to convince the congressmen of the need to develop the TTP. In the election year of the new US president, this will not be easy, especially since some of the candidates have already expressed their doubts about the correctness of the choice of Barack Obama. Doubts also exist in the opposition forces in Canada, discussions are also being held in Australia. So before the TTP has a visible outline it will take a long time.
It seems that China will make full use of this time. Therefore, under any scenario, China will not remain aloof from the Trans-Pacific partnership.
In Beijing, and not only there, they perfectly understand that without the PRC the vitality of the TTP will be limited. Therefore, China will certainly receive an invitation to participate in the new structure. The only question is, when?
The United States will try to open the doors for the Chinese, as well as for Russia, when the new rules are finally formulated and approved. New participants will have to follow these rules, as it happens, for example, with the WTO. But China, in turn, will try to do so to take part in the development of these new rules.