Trump last week officially scrapped the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pen stroke that reversed his predecessor’s push toward Asia and dashed the last-minute hopes of Pacific Rim member nations trying to resist China's gravitational pull.
The move delighted Beijing, which no longer needs to worry about a U.S.-led deal Chinese officials saw as an attempt to undermine its rise. These leaders now have a rare opportunity to tilt the geopolitical landscape and promote an agenda more aligned with China's goals for global trade.
“If China is required to play that leadership role, then China will assume its responsibilities,” said Zhang Jun, head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s international economic affairs department.
The 12-member TPP, which stretched from Japan to Peru but did not include China, aimed to create a free-trade zone for about 40 percent of the world’s economy. It would have cut tariffs and set rules for trade disputes, the environment and intellectual property. The Obama administration viewed it as key strategy to expanding U.S. influence in the region.
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