Release of US Trade Policy Options in the Pacific Basin: Bigger Is Better


February 16, 2017, 12:15 PM to 1:30 PM EST
PIIE Webcast, Washington, DC

Jeffrey J. Schott (PIIE), C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE) and Il SaKong (Institute for Global Economics)

Event Summary

PIIE Senior Fellow Jeffrey J. Schott presented the findings of the Institute's latest Policy Brief, US Trade Policy Options in the Pacific Basin: Bigger Is Better, on February 16, 2017. C. Fred Bergsten, PIIE senior fellow and director emeritus, and Il SaKong, chairman and CEO of the Institute for Global Economics in Korea, provided their commentary on the report's analysis of the impacts of the new administration’s policies on trade in the Pacific region.

The Trump administration has withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and called for bilateral trade deals to replace it. The action is a major shift in US trade policy and has important implications for business and US trade partners in the region. This new Policy Brief assesses Trump’s TPP critique and policy alternatives. It argues that the administration’s analysis of the TPP is flawed; nonetheless the TPP has specific flaws that could be fixed in the context of negotiations on a revamped, enlarged, and probably renamed Asia-Pacific trade accord. Schott suggests that Trump pursue a bigger and better deal involving key partners like Korea, Taiwan, and Colombia, and with new enforceable obligations on currency practices among others. Bergsten will complement this presentation with thoughts on a bilateral focused trade strategy for the United States.

Jeffrey J. Schott has been with the Institute since 1983. He is the author of numerous studies on trade policy and has led the Institute's research in bilateral and regional free trade agreements, including his 2001 study, Free Trade between Korea and the United States? which laid the groundwork for the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Since January 2003, he has been a member of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee of the US government.

C. Fred Bergsten, senior fellow, previously served as the founding director of the Institute from 1981 to 2012. He is a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations, and cochairman of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the United States–India Trade Policy Forum. He was chairman of the Eminent Persons Group of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum from 1993 to 1995. 

Il SaKong is chairman and CEO of the Institute for Global Economics.  Among other positions, he has served as minister of finance, senior secretary to the president for economic affairs, and chairman of the G-20 Summit Coordination Committee in his native Korea.