As a founding member of the TPP and a price-taker in world affairs, Singapore needs to help other members see that TPP brings a more stable pacific order provided that China has meaningful stake in it. The United States and China share the most important relationship in the world today. They have the potential to shape a new world.
Given her limited size, Singapore has been lauded for their matters in foreign affairs and regarded as a neutral platform for ‘price-makers’. Partnerships like TPP points to prospects of bringing benefits beyond trade like multilateral partnership with the promise of stable Pacific order, which unfortunately seems cold with China excluded from it.
Risking a world divided:
Keeping China out of theses arrangements has spurred the formation of alternative institutions like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB). China is focusing across the globe to safeguard its resurgence by investing in multi-billion dollar European Infrastructure fund worth 1.3 trillion euros, investments in Latin American projects up to US $250 billion over the next decade and many funds in Africa. In other words, the two global powers strive to secure the allegiance of others and try to shape an international order which reflects their preferences.
More stable Pacific
So TPP presents the US and its allies an opportunity to co-create an order with China which promises a more peaceful Pacific trade. There are more opportunities than funding, so this gap can be bridged by co-financing arrangements since AIIB can’t fund it alone. China could also help reduce ongoing social restlessness in the Middle East. China’s “One Belt, One Road” will help reduce youth unemployment and smooth out uneven economic growth in major population centres. The TPP could also help strike a balance of power in Sino-US relations, mitigated by a partnership framework and elements of goodwill and cooperation. Singapore in turn could help others see that without China having a meaningful stake in it, it would be problematic in bringing TPP into force.