The TPP and the ‘noodle bowl’ of the Asia-Pacific

By Dr Jeffrey Wilson

Research Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Wilson argues the Trans-Pacific Partnership offers more than just a set of market access opportunities for Australia. It also promises ‘systemic change’ in the Asia-Pacific trade architecture. The spread of bilateral FTAs in the last decade has caused fractures in the regional trade system, known as the ‘noodle bowl problem’. The TPP may help resolve this problem by ‘multilateralising’ existing agreements under one umbrella. Its size, ambitious reform agenda and status as a ‘living agreement’ make it especially suited to this task and Australia stands to gain considerably if the TPP’s high-standard and multilateral approach becomes a template for trade liberalisation in the region. Businesses and policymakers should be aware of these systemic implications when evaluating participation in the TPP.

This report was prepared by Dr. Jeffrey Wilson, a Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre. 

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