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Research Report

Bridging the Pacific: The Americas’ New Economic Frontier?

Peter S. Rashish
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2014
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 28
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)
    Fran Burwell and Jason Marczak

    The United States is currently negotiating two major trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involving Canada and ten Asian and Latin American countries; and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the 28-member European Union. If successfully concluded, these agreements will create stronger bonds between the US economy and fast-growing emerging economies, and between the United States and Europe, its top trading and investment partner.

    The Atlantic Council is a leader in spreading awareness of TTIP and its potential advantages. From the beginning, we have viewed this transatlantic agreement not only as an economic game-changer, but also of great...

  2. (pp. 5-10)

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began as a modest but novel effort by four countries—Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore—with very little in common beyond their location on the Pacific Rim, to liberalize trade and investment among themselves. Over time, this experiment in Asia-Latin America economic integration gained considerable traction.

    Now, the United States and Japan—the first- and fourth-largest economies in the world—as well as Canada, Mexico, and Peru in the Americas and Australia, Malaysia, and Vietnam in Asia have joined the four founding TPP members to negotiate a mega-regional FTA with an unprecedented level of ambition...

  3. (pp. 11-14)

    There are already well over a hundred FTAs signed and in effect among the thirty-two Asia-Pacific countries. Both Asian and Latin American countries have exhibited considerable policy activism in the last decade on the FTA front. Most of these agreements are bilateral, but others, like the ASEAN FTA, NAFTA, and Central America’s many FTAs with other countries of the hemisphere involve groups of countries; the result is a complicated web of FTAs [See Figure 3, P. 12].

    In addition to those already in force, a number of FTA negotiations continue. Despite recent territorial frictions, China, Japan, and South Korea have...

  4. (pp. 15-18)

    Latin America faces both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Many of its economies have developed strong ties with both the United States (Mexico through NAFTA, for example) and the European Union (Brazil and Argentina), but recent trade policies have been preponderantly oriented toward the fast-growing Asian economies. Asia is the number two trading partner for Latin America behind the United States and ahead of the European Union. Asia is Latin America’s fastest-growing trade partner at roughly 20 percent per year over the last decade.

    Not all of Latin America’s Pacific-facing countries have taken full advantage of these opportunities in Asia....

  5. (pp. 19-21)

    Any considerations about alternative futures for the Pacific Rim economies have to be grounded in the inescapable reality of the overwhelmingly dynamic growth of China and its neighbors in East and Southeast Asia. Although China’s economy has slowed recently, sustained annual growth in the 7 percent range recently predicted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for 2014 does not seem unreasonable for the next few years. With a 2012 GDP of $8.2 trillion, China’s economy alone is nearly as large as all seven Asian countries currently participating in TPP combined ($8.4 trillion) and more than half as large as that of...