11/17/2016, 17.53
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Caught between the US and China, Vietnam shelves TPP ratification

Promoted by Obama, the agreement was signed by 12 countries in October 2015. Washington is paying the price for the climate of insecurity caused by Trump’s election. During the election campaign, the president-elect called the PPT a "disaster" and promised to scrap it.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Vietnam plans to shelve ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because of the uncertainties surrounding the foreign policy of President-elect Donald Trump.

"The United States has announced it suspends the submission of TPP to the parliament so there are not sufficient conditions for Vietnam to submit its proposal for ratification," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Vietnam’s National Assembly.

Promoted by the Obama administration, the TPP was signed in October 2015. The agreement, which excludes China, eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers and harmonises trade standards over much of the Asia-Pacific region.

The agreement was signed by United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The deal was a major factor in the rapid strengthening of ties between former war enemies Vietnam and the United States after decades of cool relations.

The relationship had gained momentum over the past two years, coinciding with fissures between Hanoi and Beijing and the end of US embargo on arms sales to Vietnam. The TPP would have been a big boon for Vietnam's exports and manufacturing economy.

However, during the election campaign, Donald Trump called the TPP a "disaster" that would be "catastrophic" for the US economy and Congress.

Concerned that the new US president would scrap the deal, Hanoi has decided to wait.

"We already have signed 12 free trade agreements, so joining the TPP is good, but without joining TPP we will still continue to further the economic integration under programs we have joined," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

"We are ready to cooperate with the United States for co-development on the principle of respecting independence, territorial sovereignty," he added.

Vietnam’s decision to pull back and the hesitations of other countries in the Asia-Pacific region provide an opportunity for China to revive its own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

China’s President Xi Jinping is expected to use this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru, to push the RCEP, which Beijing has championed in recent years.

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