Opinion: Can the TPP fix the ‘noodle bowl’ of Asian free trade agreements?

March 1, 2016

Dr Jeffrey WilsonThe Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is one the most significant developments in Australia’s trade and foreign policy agendas.

In an article published by the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Dr Jeffrey Wilson, a fellow of Murdoch’s Asia Research Centre, examines the impact of the TPP on the fragmented trade architecture of the Asia Pacific.

Experts have suggested the many bilateral trade agreements made by Asian governments during the 2000s has led to a ‘noodle bowl problem’ in the region, as each have wildly inconsistent agreements and differing rules.

The TPP may help to address the noodle bowl because of its size, its regulatory coherence and its flexibility as a ‘living agreement’, Dr Wilson says.

But its long term success will ultimately depend on its ability to draw in new members and attain full regional coverage. Korea, India, Indonesia and China are the conspicuous countries missing from the agreement.

Dr Wilson’s full article can be read here.

The piece was produced as part of a consultancy with the Perth USAsia Centre, a think tank that promotes stronger relationships between Australia, the Indo-Pacific and the USA.

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