China seeks to join the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement

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China Trade News

China has tried to join a trans-Pacific trade agreement originally designed by Washington to limit Beijing’s growing economic and political influence in the region.

The Ministry of Commerce of China announced on Thursday that Beijing’s application for the Comprehensive Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership has been transferred to New Zealand by telephone, and New Zealand is responsible for processing the application for accession.

The predecessor of CPTPP was the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a trade agreement signed in 2016 by the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and seven other countries. It was initially negotiated by then-U.S. President Barack Obama to ensure that Washington, not Beijing, mastered regional trade and investment rules.

His successor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the agreement in 2017, allowing Japan to take the lead in reforming the CPTPP, which took effect the following year.

Beijing application coming As Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States reached a security agreement allowing Canberra to purchase nuclear-powered submarines to offset the increasingly self-confident China.Beijing Condemned the move, The three countries are accused of the existence of “outdated Cold War zero-sum thinking.”

China’s request to join the trade agreement highlights the increasingly complex relationship between Beijing and its neighbors. Although geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region have increased, the economies are highly dependent on each other. Beijing sees deepening trade and investment relations as the key to responding to growing hostility in capitals such as Washington, Canberra, London and Tokyo.

For China, the membership of CPTPP is far from certain. Existing signatories may oppose the use of state subsidies, restrictions on free cross-border data flows, and the opacity of domestic labor conditions.

The addition of new members requires the unanimous consent of existing members, including Japan and Australia-these two countries have had greater friction with China in the past year.

After Canberra supported calls for an international investigation into Beijing’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, Beijing imposed tariffs and import bans on Australian agricultural products.

At the APEC summit in November last year, Xi Jinping expressed his interest in joining the trade agreement for the first time. In his speech, he said that he “will actively consider” joining. Five days ago, through a political coup, Beijing signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, a broad trade agreement covering 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, bringing Asia closer to becoming a cohesive trade zone.

But CPTPP is a more comprehensive trade agreement than RCEP, with broader liberalization in tariffs and investment flows.

The United Kingdom submitted an application to join the CPTPP in February this year to obtain trade and investment opportunities with 11 signatories after exiting the European Union.

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