So far, the TPP talks have been ongoing without what's known as ''fast track'' trade authority from Congress. And with the partisan battle going on in Washington, that approval isn't likely to come any time soon.
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On top of this, it's historically been the Republicans, traditionally the party of free trade, who've pushed through this kind of legislation. It would be too big an ask, analysts say, to get enough GOP support behind TPP right now. They're much more focused on the debt ceiling and repealing Obamacare.
Meanwhile, the 12-year old Doha round of WTO talks is not so much going nowhere, as it is near death. A last-ditch ninth round, scheduled for December in Bali, hopes to get a partial deal on what's being called ''Doha lite,'' which would focus strictly on food security and reducing bureaucracy at borders.
The WTO estimates that could add about $1 trillion of fresh growth. But the WTO's recent track record of achieving deals hasn't been stellar.
What about APEC itself ? It aims to achieve the so-called ''Bogor goals'' -- free trade for developed members by 2010, and for developing members by 2020. It's behind schedule. Average tariffs have come down very sharply, but are still above 5 percent.
Which leaves China's model, RCEP. Though it would be a lower-standard trade agreement compared to TPP -- and would likely keep state-owned companies protected -- it is also more achievable.
(Read more: Is Shanghai's free trade zone really a game changer?)
Launched in late 2011, RCEP is a year younger than TPP, but already includes some 16 countries - including the 10 member nations of ASEAN, plus Japan, India, South Korea. It is of course dominated by China, which is already the biggest trading partner for all the major members of RCEP, bar India. And with RCEP, Delhi would be drawn into Beijing's sphere of economic influence too.
In other words, the short answer to the original question of where fresh global growth is going to come from, is right before our eyes. It's already happening. Hopefully, that will pressure the US to put its government house in order.
- By CNBC's Martin Soong. Follow him on Twitter: @MartinSoong