China asks to join the Pacific trade pact to strengthen its economic weight

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BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Reuters) – China has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Commerce Ministry said, as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to strengthen its trade influence .

Chinese Trade Minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to join the free trade agreement in a letter to New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O’Connor, the Chinese ministry said Thursday. in a press release.

The CPTPP was signed by 11 countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand in 2018.

Before that, it was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s regional influence.

Japan, chairman of the CPTPP this year, said it will consult with member countries to meet China’s request, but did not indicate a timeline for doing so.

“Japan believes it is necessary to determine whether China, which has submitted an application for TPP-11 membership, is ready to meet its extremely high standards,” Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday. to journalists.

The TPP was at the heart of former US President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia, but his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew the US from the pact in 2017.

Joining the CPTPP would be a major boost for China following the signing of the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement last year.

Beijing has been pushing for its inclusion in the pact, notably noting that the Chinese and Australian economies have enormous potential for cooperation. However, relations between the two countries deteriorated.

Britain began negotiations to secure the trade deal in June, while Thailand has also expressed interest in joining. Read more

Wang and O’Connor held a conference call to discuss next steps following China’s bid, China’s Commerce Ministry said.

Reporting by Colin Qian, Twinnie Siu and Tom Daly in BEIJING, Daniel Leussink in TOKYO; Editing by Edmund Blair, Jonathan Oatis and Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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