Is the US losing its lead in Pacific Trade to China?

Eurocentric thinking can distort perspectives in the changing world of trade.

Washington (Brussels Morning)The world of trade is changing, both in the Atlantic and the Pacific. While the United States has long been seen as a stakeholder in European affairs — not least because of NATO — Japan’s legitimate interests in Europe are often underreported.

Japan is one of the biggest foreign investors in both the UK and in Europe. Margaret Thatcher encouraged Japanese companies to use the UK as a launch pad to Europe, resulting in accumulative investments of 81 billion pounds in the UK economy. Just recently, Japan’s Ambassador to the UK, Koji Tsuruoka, warned that a disorderly Brexit could see Japanese companies looking elsewhere to base their operations.

In the meantime, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February, 2019, is likely to result in tighter economic ties with the Single Market. In fact, Japan could well become a major destination for European Foreign Direct Investment since Japan could offer a launch pad for European business seeking an entryway into the Pacific economy.

The United States first brokered and then failed to ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), leaving such traditional allies as Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Australia to build a high-standard, normative framework trade area. Investment in the US is no longer an obvious choice for accessing the Pacific Market.

In November 2020, a second “oute




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