Now that Asia has stitched together the world’s biggest trading bloc, US financial and tech firms ought to be more than a little worried.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, will bind the 10 economies of Southeast Asia with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, creating a prototype of what my colleague David Fickling describes as “a sort of Pax Sinica,” a Beijing-led global order.
To provide a counterweight, the US needs the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). President Donald Trump backed out four years ago.
Japan is keen for Joe Biden, as the next president, to reverse the exit. But the goal of a US pivot to Asia can’t solely be to encircle China. The objective must be to establish rules for ownership and use of Asian consumers’ financial and e-commerce data, a commodity that is set to become more valuable in this century than perhaps even oil was in the last.