China applies to join Pacific trade pact to boost economic clout

0
80

[ad_1]

Article content

BEIJING — Japan said it would have to determine if China meets the “extremely high standards” of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after the world’s second-biggest economy formally applied to join.

Commerce Minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to join the free trade agreement in a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, the Chinese ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.

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

Advertisement

Article content

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

Japan, the CPTPP’s chair this year, said it will consult with member countries to respond to China’s request, but stopped short of signaling a timeline for doing so.

“Japan believes that it’s necessary to determine whether China, which submitted a request to join the TPP-11, is ready to meet its extremely high standards,” Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters on Friday.

The TPP was central to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia but his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the pact in 2017.

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

Advertisement

Article content

Beijing has lobbied https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-lobbies-australia-parliament-joining-regional-trade-pact-2021-09-10 for its inclusion in the pact, including by highlighting that the Chinese and Australian economies have enormous potential for cooperation. However, relations between the two countries have soured.

In a new alliance dubbed AUKUS announced this week, the United States and Britain said they will provide Australia with the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, in a move seen as aimed at countering China’s influence in the Pacific.

Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Friday that the application to join CPTPP was “completely unrelated” to AUKUS.

Advertisement

Article content

China is pushing for regional integration while AUKUS countries are “promoting war and destruction,” he added at a briefing in Beijing.

Taiwan, which has also been angling to join the pact, expressed concern about China’s decision to apply.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and will not be pleased if Taipei is allowed to join the grouping before Beijing.

Britain in June began negotiations to enter the trade pact, while Thailand has also signaled interest in joining it.

Wang and O’Connor held a telephone conference to discuss the next steps following China’s application, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.

(Reporting by Colin Qian, Twinnie Siu, Tom Daly and Gabriel Crossley in Beijin and Daniel Leussink in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao in Taipei: Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Advertisement

In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

[ad_2]

Source

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here