As the annual trade talks U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) gets underway in Washington D.C., the backdrop could hardly be more different from a year ago.
In 2015, each side in the series of annual meetings that cover everything from agriculture to cybersecurity had its own policy advantages, and policy continuity was the result of years of work by both sides.
Just a year ago, enthusiasm for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also remained strong, with an official signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand, just months away. The agreement was positioned as America’s last, best hope to stay relevant in Asia’s economies.
And by design, the agreement positioned China as an outsider in its own neighborhood, instead of lining Asian countries up behind aging American assumptions around trade, intellectual property, and services in the world’s fastest-growing region.