FTAs, pacts and economic diplomacy – the latest soft power grab?

Asia’s position at the heart of global geopolitics and its impact on trade appears to be entering yet another chapter; the fallout from the signing of the new AUKUS security pact between Australia, the US and the UK – a…

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Asia’s position at the heart of global geopolitics and its impact on trade appears to be entering yet another chapter; the fallout from the signing of the new AUKUS security pact between Australia, the US and the UK – a controversial initiative many see as only likely to add to tensions in the region, particularly around the subject of Taiwan – saw China applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-country free trade area that also includes Australia, following on from last year’s signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

At GTR Asia 2021 Virtual, Rebecca Harding (Chief Executive Officer, Coriolis Technologies), Professor Henry Gao (Associate Professor of Law, Singapore Management University; Dongfang Scholar Chair Professor, Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade) and Kristy Sandino (Head of International Policy, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) considered how this heightened environment is likely to play out from a trade perspective, with the risk of divisions and concern over the use of trade as a tool of wider economic diplomacy.

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