- China’s Ministry of Commerce on September 16 announced that the country has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
- China wants to start negotiations before the UK joins the agreement because the risk of its accession being vetoed will be higher after the UK joins.
China’s Ministry of Commerce on September 16 announced that the country has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is joined by 11 member countries, including Vietnam, signed in 2018 in Chile.
The application was submitted by China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao to New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor, after a meeting between the two ministers on “further work” regarding China apply for.
If it joins, China will be the largest economy in the CPTPP bloc. This will also be an important step for China to increase its economic influence after signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last year.
The CPTPP includes 11 member countries Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand, Peru, and Vietnam, and has been in effect with Vietnam since the beginning of 2019. In total, these countries have 495 million people and contribute 13.5% of global GDP with a total trade turnover of more than 10 trillion USD.
Previously, the US withdrew from this agreement in 2017 under former US President Donald Trump. Later, many analysts and former US officials called for Washington to step back to prevent Beijing from influencing global trade regulations. But that call has not been answered.
According to some experts, China wants to start negotiations before the UK joins the agreement because the risk of its accession being vetoed will be higher after the UK joins. The only party that has expressed support for China is Japan, while other Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei may not be satisfied with China’s participation.
Japan is currently the chair of the decision-making body of the CPTPP, while New Zealand is responsible for receiving applications for accession.
Once the application is approved, a team will be formed for evaluation. Applicants for accession must comply with the provisions of the CPTPP and initiate tax negotiations on a bilateral basis with the members of the bloc.
In June 2021, the review process with the UK has begun. Britain’s Trade Minister said that becoming a member of the CPTPP is a great opportunity for the UK. This will help shift the UK’s economic focus from Europe to the fastest-growing regions in the world. Besides, this also helps the UK expand its access to huge consumption markets in Asia – Pacific.
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