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‘TPP withdrawal could weaken US status in Asia-Pacific’

Seoul, Feb 13: The United States’ recent withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement is expected to weaken its economic and strategic status in the Asia-Pacific region, a state-run think tank in Seoul said on Monday.

In January, US President Dold Trump issued an executive order to pull out from the TPP, which was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama after seven years of negotiations with 11 countries. It has yet to be ratified due to the US withdrawal.

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the TPP can pave the way for Chi to expand its influence in the Asia-Pacific region through its Regiol Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),” Kang Seon-jou, an associate professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and tiol Security (IFANS), said in a report.

The US motive for its initial participation in the TPP was “to restore its influence in the Asia-Pacific region and secure a leadership role in regiol integration efforts” after the country was relatively estranged from Asia because of its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the 1997 Asian fincial crisis, he noted.

To counter the US “rebalancing” efforts, Chi launched its own regiol free trade scheme RCEP, which promised “the world’s largest trading bloc”, Yonhap reported.

“The US withdrawal from the TPP would (also) put Chi at a strategic advantage in the Asia region … and could send a sigl to the Asia-Pacific countries that the US is retreating from the region at a critical juncture, which in turn could weaken the US economic and strategic status,” said the professor of IFANS, the research arm of the state-run Korea tiol Diplomatic Academy. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita