When Asia-Pacific trade officials gathered in Hanoi last weekend, one of the first things they did was to effectively revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This time without the U.S.
The free trade pact’s future has remained uncertain since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S earlier this year.
Now Japan and the other 10 remaining members are looking to move forward with what they call TPP-11, or TPP minus One.
The question is, would the once-ambitious deal be the same without a giant like the U.S.?
How much smaller would it become?
Data published this week by Reuters suggests that, in terms of trade within the group, TPP-11 would shrink to just a quarter of the original deal. Gross domestic product and population figures would also drop significantly without the U.S.
And suddenly, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade deal backed by China, has become much bigger in scale.
This deal has been given new impetus by the U.S. withdrawal from the TPP. Its members, including seven TPP economies, now hope to get it signed by the end of the year, Reuters reported.