By Peter A. Petri [from CNN blog]
Thailand will undoubtedly welcome President Barack Obama warmly this weekend, and is expected to announce its interest in pursuing membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. This is an important milestone: it boosts the TPP’s prospects for success; improves the chances for Asia-Pacific free trade; and gives a further “thumbs up” to economic ties between Southeast Asia and the United States.
Originally a four-country trade agreement among Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand, the TPP now has 11 negotiating members on both sides of the Pacific, and could become the biggest trade agreement since the Uruguay Round. It is a huge, positive-sum game that promises benefits to all members and could help to define the trading rules of the 21st century.
If Thailand joins the TPP, it would be one of its biggest beneficiaries. Estimates that colleagues and I have done at the East-West Center and the Peterson Institute for International Economics show that the TPP would generate global income gains of $451 billion per year in 2025, assuming that Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand eventually join the 11 countries now negotiating. That is more than what the Doha Round could deliver, even if completed.
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