Trump's TPP retreat opens up opportunities for Europe

One man's sorrow is another man's joy? Donald Trump wants to terminate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as soon as he begins his term as president of the US in January. The TPP trade agreement is supposed to massively boost trade between the US and the Asian Pacific region. Donald Trump seems to be putting an end to this. For Europe, this means new opportunities - and uncertainties.
The pact would create a huge free trade area between the US and nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Now there is hope that the EU could fill the gap. However, in light of the growing resistance to free trade agreements in Europe, this remains doubtful.

How does the EU Commission see free trade agreements in general?
For the Brussels authorities and their boss Jean-Claude Juncker, the situation is clear: trade agreements strengthen the European economy, increase growth and create new jobs. Through the elimination of tariffs and other trade hindrances, European companies can export more profitably throughout the world. Additionally, it offers the chance for other states to keep to a certain standard in terms of worker's rights or protection of the environment. 

What opportunities are there specifically in the Asian Pacific region?
The EU Commission sees exceptional opportunities in this area. By 2050, the middle class will have grown by millions, according to the EU Agrarian Commissioner Phil Hogan. The demand for high quality products in countries like Vietnam or Malaysia is to increase considerably. And here the EU could benefit.

What role does trade with Asian countries have in the EU today?
An important one. For example, Japan, which is part of TPP, is the most important EU trade partner in Asia after China. In terms of imports, their auto and electronics industries are excellent and the EU exports - albeit to a lesser extent- medicines and medical instruments to Japan. In Japan and also in other TPP nations, Brussels can see an even more significant growth potential.

Are there already EU trade agreements with TPP nations?

The EU Commission, with the support of the EU states, is currently negotiating around 20 free trade agreements worldwide, including the TPP countries Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. The EU also signed treaties with Canada, Singapore and Vietnam.

What do the critics say?
In the US election campaign, trade agreements such as TPP were an important issue. Many people see them as responsible for the loss of jobs. There is also increasing resistance in Europe - most recently, for example, against the Ceta-Pact negotiated with Canada. Critics - such as non-governmental organizations - are afraid that minimum standards will be undermined. According to such organizations, the agreements are often designed to maximize the profitability of multinational corporations, while the interests of the poor are disregarded.

Source: Proplanta

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