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U.S. won’t join CPTPP but will seek new framework: Raimondo

  • November 16, 2021
  • , Nikkei Asia , 4:30 a.m.
  • English Press

YOICHI TAKITA, Nikkei senior staff writer

 

TOKYO — U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Monday that her country looks to form an economic framework that goes beyond the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

America envisions an economic framework that “could be even more robust in some ways than the traditional free trade agreement,” Raimondo said in a television interview during her trip to Tokyo.

 

While reiterating the Biden administration’s position that the original Pacific trade agreement “is not something that America would be part of at this time,” she said the U.S. is open to a cooperative framework with Japan and other friendly nations that oversees a wide range of areas, including digital technology and supply chains.

 

President Joe Biden unveiled plans for an Indo-Pacific economic framework at the East Asia Summit, held virtually in late October.

 

“We look forward to signing an agreement with the economies in the region which is a robust economic framework,” Raimondo said.

 

Under then-President Barack Obama, the U.S. was involved in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was signed in 2016 but never entered into force. America withdrew from the TPP under Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, and the agreement was replaced with the CPTPP.

 

Eleven countries belong to the CPTPP: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. China and Taiwan separately applied in September to join the pact, which sets rules for trade and investment.

 

During the interview, which aired on TV Tokyo’s “World Business Satellite” show, Raimondo said Japan and the U.S. share many areas of mutual interest and advantage.

 

The two sides agreed during her trip to establish the Japan-U. S. Commercial and Industrial Partnership. Raimondo cited supply chain bottlenecks, the global chip shortage and clean energy as among the priorities for the two countries.

 

On expanding the digital economy, Raimondo said the effort needs democratic values and safeguards for privacy.

 

Raimondo said she met with members of Japan’s business community about the Biden administration’s infrastructure spending plan and that Washington looks forward to finding ways to work with Japanese corporations.

 

On the American tariffs imposed on Japanese steel and aluminum, Raimondo said she seeks to resolve the disagreement, since Japan is an ally. Excess capacity in the Chinese steel industry distorts the global market and hurts Japanese and American steelworkers, she said.

 

“We want to work with Japan against the Chinese excess capacity and to protect our industry and your industry,” Raimondo said.

 

The commerce secretary will also visit Singapore and Malaysia during her trip to Asia, which ends Thursday.

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