China wants to join the CPTPP Free Trade Agreement, a free trade agreement focused on countries surrounding the Pacific. The Chinese government said Commerce Minister Wang Wentao had submitted a request to fellow New Zealander Damian O’Connor.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement was concluded in 2018. It arose as a further development of the TPP Treaty, in which the United States will also participate. However, in 2017, Donald Trump decided that the United States would no longer be involved. Remarkably, the trade deal was previously intended to provide a kind of balance to China’s economic influence in the region.
At that time, the agreement was signed by 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand. But recently there has been more interest in membership in the CPTPP, which has been described as “one of the world’s most dynamic free trade areas”. Thailand and the United Kingdom have already indicated their desire to join.
Click on the United States
The fact that China is now submitting its candidacy raises concerns in the United States and pressures Americans to participate. Japan, which has regular military tensions with China, is also cautious. The official request comes after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations. Last year, President Xi Jinping had already expressed interest.
Taiwan is also interested in membership, but has not yet submitted a formal application. China’s membership threatens to complicate entry to Taiwan.
Accession negotiations with China promise to be difficult anyway, because Beijing is currently in a trade dispute with Australia and Canada, for example. Canberra stressed that all 11 CPTPP members must agree to start talks. The question is also to what extent a state-run economy fits within the rules of the trading bloc.
China’s membership is expected to take a few more years. The UK case comes first.
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