The turning point in relations with Japan and the trade agenda are analogous to the stunning fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Starting with the rapid reversal of the relative economic positions of Japan and the United States, and amplified by the challenge of the Japanese capitalist model challenged by the Asian financial crisis, America`s trade agenda has been disrupted. By early 1998, trade disputes had overshadowed the imperative to revive Japan`s emerging economy. Although trade negotiations continued in key areas of the U.S. priority (telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, insurance and cars), the tone has become more moderate and more emphasis has been placed on the overall relationship and the common security agenda. The contrast is evident in President Clinton`s book visits to Japan in 1993 and 2000. When President Clinton visited Japan for his first G7 meeting in 1993, Japan`s trade barriers and imbalances were at the top of the agenda in the United States. When President Clinton visited Japan in 2000 for his last G7/8 meeting, the United States and Japan worked closely together to address development challenges such as HIV/AID, the digital divide, primary education and debt cancellation, as well as a flagship information technology agreement. The Clinton administration took office with a stated determination to end the perceived subordination of trade policy to security, reflecting the end of the Cold War and the need to address America`s relative economic decline. In the early years, this policy resulted in a series of high-level trade disputes with Japan. But over the past eight years, several new developments have shifted towards mutual strengthening between international economic and security policy (with notable exceptions in terms of sanctions and export controls). Perhaps most importantly, the reversal of the U.S.
economic situation has shifted the trade agenda towards finding opportunities rather than eliminating inequality. Second, President Clinton, who took office with a much stronger vision and a much stronger mandate in domestic and economic policy than in foreign policy, gradually developed a strong interest in foreign policy and a strong instinct for using economic instruments to advance American interests abroad. Third, the international financial system has posed critical challenges that have dominated business decision-making at several crucial points. Former U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler made another comment and wrote in a recent comment: «RCEP is another reminder that our Asian trading partners have developed confidence in cooperation without the United States.» China, meanwhile, applauded rcep as a victory. «The signing of the RCEP is not only a monumental achievement of East Asian regional cooperation, but even more important, a victory for multilateralism and free trade,» Premier Li Keqiang said, according to Chinese media.