The Japan Society is very excited to invite you to its programme series of 2017. It is with an honour to announce that our first speaker for the year is Mr. David Olive from the Toronto Star.
The cavalier dismissal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is not the death knell of substantive trade arrangements among countries, and the "end of globalization," as the mass media have concluded.
That Prime Minister Abe went ahead and sought (and won) ratification of the TPP in the Diet was the P.M.'s way of keeping alive the spirit of the TPP, which of course is mutual benefit among countries and regions. The Prime Minister was also welcoming the TPP as an incomparable opportunity to achieve his needed reform agenda in Japan itself.
What Japan needs to know - and I believe does realize - is that 11 of the 12 parties to the TPP remain supportive of its ideals, from Canada to New Zealand to Vietnam. APEC and the existing region trade pact in the Pacific Rim speak to the world's continued determination to reap the prosperity and better environmental and workplace-safety standards contained in the TPP, or a future, similar treaty that will be attempted.
The question today is wait out the Trump Administration until one more like that of Barack Obama comes to power in Washington, or to proceed with an ambitions trans-Pacific trade alliance without the participation of the U.S. A great many Americans prefer even stronger ties with Japan, one of the world's biggest economies and sources of innovation. Donald Trump himself has vowed to negotiate a comprehensive trade with a China that he vilified, along with Mexico, during his campaign.
Beijing has its own strategy for regional trade cooperation that places China in the role of chief decision-maker. But it is a weak arrangement, due to an obvious reluctance to have one superpower with so much influence in such an association. Russia has been trying to do the same with similar unimpressive results.
Now is a time for contemplation about reshaping how trade relations, and its benefits, can be best accomplished so that when favorable conditions arise - as they will, sooner than later - we will be prepared to bring about greater prosperity for billions of people.
About the Speaker
David Olive is a business and current affairs columnist at The Toronto Star. He has been a business and economics writer for more than 30 years. His books include Just Rewards: The Case for Ethical Reform in Business, and An American Story: The Speeches of Barack Obama.
Cost: Member 20$ and Non-member 25$
Light buffet lunch and drinks will be served.