Comparing diverse Southeast Asian reactions to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Ong, Mei Ping Michelle
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This thesis attempts to explain why some Southeast Asian countries, namely Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while others such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, did not. Two hypotheses emerged: Different levels of support for protectionism in Southeast Asian countries influence their decision to participate, or not participate, in the TPP; and different levels of support for a stronger U.S. role in the Asia-Pacific affect Southeast Asian countries’ decision in taking part in the TPP. The evidence from six country cases show that on balance, the first hypothesis has slightly greater explanatory power than the second hypothesis. While evidence from Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand strongly support both hypotheses, evidence from the Philippines only partially supports them. For Malaysia, the evidence weakly supports the second hypothesis and does not support the first one.
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