Michael Froman, America’s trade representative, says the TPP is about ensuring high labour standards, exposing state-owned enterprises to level competition with private enterprises and including digital activity “to ensure a free and open internet”. When he held informal talks with TPP counterparts at a get-together in Myanmar in August, he asked them about RCEP and was not impressed by what he heard. Whereas the TPP was aiming to eliminate almost all tariffs, India was asking RCEP to keep the figure as low as 40%. China was somewhere in between, apparently waiting to see where everyone else ended up.
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