If it eventuates the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) will include major economic powerhouses like the US and Japan, but China – the elephant in the room – has been excluded. Our evaluation of how China might fare in the TPP finds that the agreement would be a poor fit at the current stage of China’s economic development. Although China would gain both in terms of trade and a reform timetable, some features of this 21st-century agreement – the assistance given to state-owned enterprises, the standards for labour rights, protection of multinationals against the state and competition laws – would be stumbling blocks in the negotiation process. Thus, being left out of the TPP is no big loss for China.
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