China submits application to join CPTPP

China officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, after contacting the member countries.

China’s Ministry of Commerce today announced that Minister Wang Wentao has officially submitted an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to the New Minister of Trade and Export Growth. Zealand Damien O’Connor, after a meeting between the two ministers on “further work” regarding China’s application.

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao.  Photo: SCIO.

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao. Photo: KNOW.

In May, officials of the four CPTPP member countries said that the leaders of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and possibly some other countries had dialogue with their Chinese counterparts about the CPTPP. In February, China also announced that it had informal dialogue with some CPTPP members, but did not disclose details.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly spoken publicly about China’s intention to join the CPTPP last year.

The predecessor of the CPTPP is the TPP, which is considered by the US as an important economic block to balance the growing power of China. Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from this agreement in 2017 and Japan became the leader in the adjustment process, then changed its name, and successfully signed the agreement the following year.

If it joins the CPTPP, China will become the largest economy in the bloc. Beijing is also leading the way in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The UK also applied to join the CPTPP in January to increase trade links with the region after leaving the European Union (EU). The UK has been studying the possibility of joining the CPTPP since the beginning of 2018, in order to stimulate exports after Brexit. If successful, they will be the first country in the CPTPP that does not border the South China Sea or the Pacific Ocean.

The CPTPP was signed in 2018, taking effect with Vietnam from the beginning of 2019. The agreement includes 11 member countries Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam. Together, these countries have 495 million people and contribute 13.5% of global GDP with a total trade turnover of more than 10 trillion USD.

The first group of six countries to complete the procedures for ratifying the agreement include Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Huyen Le (Follow Global Times, Inside Trade)


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