American Chambers of Commerce across Asia are urging Biden to sign on to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the COP26 United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021.
  • AmChams from four countries are calling on Biden to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • The CPTPP is an outgrowth of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country trade agreement that was signed by President Obama in 2016.
  • Former President Trump withdrew from the TPP in 2017.

As President Biden heads to New Zealand next week to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting, the American Chamber of Congresses from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and New Zealand are urging him to consider joining a sweeping international trade deal former President Trump withdrew from in 2017.

The American Chamber of Congresses from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and New Zealand released a joint statement on Friday urging Biden to use the upcoming APEC event to announce his commitment to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The combined AmChams represent hundreds of American businesses across the APAC region.

The current CPTPP is an outcropping of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country trade agreement signed by President Obama in 2016 but never ratified by Congress.

Republicans - and some Democrats - argued the TPP would move US jobs overseas and only benefit large corporations while increasing the US trade deficit.

In his first week in office, Trump withdrew from the deal.

"We're going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country, and it's going to be reversed," Trump said at the time, reported The New York Times. "I think you're going to have a lot of companies come back to our country."

Following US withdrawal, the remaining 11 member states - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam - signed the renamed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Next week's APEC meeting would be an ideal time to announce a US recommitment to the agreement, the AmCham consortium said.

"Even after the United States withdrew from the agreement, the remaining countries kept the cornerstones of the agreement intact by including tough rules of origin, reducing tariffs, making supply chains more resilient, and agreeing on accession procedures for new candidates," it said in a statement.

"Just as AmChams were the first US business associations to call for the Obama Administration to join TPP, as we saw first-hand the strategic and economic imperative to do so, the AmChams once again call on the Biden Administration to join the CPTPP, as the strategic and economic imperatives to do so are even greater now," Steven Okun, Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates and former Chair of AmCham Singapore, told Insider.

The bid to have the US rejoin the agreement comes as China formally applied to join the CPTPP after several years of President Xi Jinping expressing interest.

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