Was Donald Trump Right About the TPP?

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At last night's GOP presidential debate, Donald Trump said the following about the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

"The TPP is a horrible deal, a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door, and totally take advantage of everyone. It’s 5,600 pages long. So complex that nobody’s read it. Like Obamacare. Nobody ever read it. They passed it, nobody read it. And look at mess we have right now, and it will be repealed. But this is one of the worst trade deals, and I would, yes, rather not have it."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) quickly corrected him:

“We might want to point out China’s not part of this deal.”

Check out our map of all the countries currently involved.

Paul's right. Trump's wrong. China has never been part of the deal.

That's not to say China may not become involved with the TPP at some point further down the line. But the likelihood of that happening is minimal from where we stand today -- Currently, China is busy negotiating its own Asia-centric equivalent of the TPP.

So why wouldn't China jump at the chance to be part of such a monumental free-trade agreement?

Because the TPP puts the United States -- not China -- at the epicenter of trade with TPP member nations. And the TPP looks to dissolve the type of market protectionism China has for years used to guard its own interests in the region and across the globe.

In theory, the Trans-Pacific Partnership protects against state-backed regulations and policies that unfairly benefit one nation over another, while destabilizing China's dominance over the global economy. Whether that pans out remains to be seen. 

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