It might be churlish to note that the United States wasn’t making a great deal of the anti-competitive nature of other nation’s currency settings when it was in the thick of quantitative easing
That unpalatable truth hasn’t featured at all among the issues up for negotiation during the lengthy Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.
But the Financial Times is reporting that the Obama Administration now faces pressure to include currency provisions in TPP with both” Republicans and Democrats citing swings in the Yen as cause for action. Obama managed to sidestep a previous call by a Congressional majority for the TPP to include a ban on currency manipulation. But a move by the Bank of Japan to expand its monetary stimulus has brought the issue to the fore.
The TPP trade ministers have been hunkered down at the United States Embassy in Beijing trying to chart a way forward.
Talk around the traps is that ensuring the talks are unmolested by any security breaches (aka those cyber issues that Barack Obama wants to talk to Beijing about during his own visit here) is paramount.
If Obama also holds court with other TPP leaders when he gets into Beijing – it may be seen as a snub by host Beijing. Particularly as those talks will also likely be at the US Embassy rather than out at the sublimely beautiful new lake setting where Beijing has built a new venue to host the Apec leaders.
There’s plenty of pressure coming on the TPP Ministers.
A suggestion that Japan, which doesn’t want to make major tradeoffs in its own talks with the US, be dropped from the TPP so that a high quality deal can be notched will be a tough one for the Ministers to confront.
China has also signalled it may want into the TPP at the near future.
All this adds a great deal of pressure on the Ministers, including NZ’s Tim Groser.
New Zealand is the “respository” for the TPP talks (effectively the secretariat) which means that Groser has a twin responsbility to keep the talks moving and look after NZ’s national interest.