HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal may be controversial in the U.S., but in China it appears to be the object of great worry and, in some respects, seems to be driving policy in Beijing.
The TPP agreement, strongly supported by President Barack Obama, would create the world’s largest free-trade zone, stretching across half the globe. The treaty itself, as well as the “fast-track” negotiating authority sought by the Obama Administration, has come under criticism by some U.S. lawmakers, as well as various labor and business groups concerned about everything from wages to national security.
But in Beijing, the TPP is frequently seen as an “anyone but China” trade club that threatens the Chinese economy as a whole and even the country’s very future.
“The development of the TPP has profound impact on China’s economic reforms,” Partners Capital International Ltd. Chief Executive Ronald Wan told MarketWatch.
“In a way, it is directed at China, and China needs to take the initiative and deal with it,” he said.
Clearly, China’s leadership is concerned, all the more so as the economy suffers through a slowdown. The government’s newly released master plan for future manufacturing strategy — dubbed “Made in China 2025” — specifically cites the threat posed by the TPP to the country’s trade, still the prime driver of the Chinese economy.