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Malaysia Turns to China Trade Pact as TPP Withers

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The Obama Administration says the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is on hold, others say it is decidedly dead. Either way, things aren’t looking good for TPP and Malaysia is charting its Plan B.

The Southeast Asian nation, part of the 12-nation TPP that has been on its deathbed since Donald Trump took the U.S. election last week, is looking China’s way for trade now.

Malaysia said on Monday that it would focus its efforts on finalizing the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to help improve relations with the 10 Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN).

“The current uncertain international economic situation has motivated and strengthened the resolve of RCEP countries, which are among the fastest growing countries in the world, to continue working closely in reaching a conclusion of this trade agreement,” Reuters reported Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia trade minister, as saying.

A sizable $34 billion in deals was signed between Malaysia and China, and some speculate this could be a bigger shift toward Asia and away from the U.S.

With Trump set to take office, TPP’s progress is in jeopardy as the president-elect hasn’t been shy about his disdain of the deal.

What’s more, because of a control provision that says TPP can’t quite take effect for any of the member countries until is has been ratified by the government, little would happen with the deal if both the U.S. and Japan weren’t on board.

Mustapa said there will be no TPP for Malaysia if the U.S. isn’t in it.

According to Reuters, Malaysian leaders are expected to get a clearer grasp on what will happen to TPP at an APEC summit in Lima, Peru next week.

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