While the U.S. is holding tight to every Twitter post the president types about the trade battle with China and every signal of when the partial U.S. government shutdown might end, there's some big news rippling through Asia that's going unnoticed here.
It's the long-forgotten TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, that's been rolling out in since Dec. 30.
While it might take a little time to move the markets -- which were largely edging down in Asia Monday morning -- it will have big consequences, one expert based in Singapore told TheStreet on Sunday night ET.
For the record, by Monday morning in Hong Kong time, most Asian markets were seeing slight declines: Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Singapore's Straits Times Index were edging down by about 1% or more, while the Shanghai Composite Index was sagging just by about .5%. (Japan's Nikkei 225 was on holiday.) Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also down by less than 1%. Crude oil was down about 1%, and silver by .23%. Gold was up by .15%.
But as the week opened in Asia, the TPP -- officially dubbed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership -- is picking up a new member, Vietnam, long known for its cheap manufacturing.
This news might be largely ignored in the States, but it could lead to changes globally as the partnership will eventually include 11 nations, including Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada.
"TPP is barely being discussed," said Parag Khanna, author of the upcoming book The Future is Asian, and founder of FutureMap, a strategic advisory firm, over email. The media, said Khanna from Singapore, "should be pushing much harder to ask what the alternatives to not joining TPP and a failing trade war are."
TPP, though pushed by former U.S. President Barack Obama, became politically toxic by the 2016 election, with President Donald Trump calling the deal "another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country."