China Joins Asia-Pacific Trade Pact

September 17, 2021

As part of its efforts to strengthen its position in the region, China has applied to join a key Asia-Pacific trade pact. The move comes just one day after the announcement of a historic security agreement between the US, the UK, and Australia. The US created the pact that eventually became the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to counter China’s influence. However, former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it in 2017.

In a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, Chinese commerce minister Wang Wentao stated that the world’s second largest economy had submitted its application to join the free trade agreement. The pact’s administrative centre is in New Zealand. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Mr Wang and Mr O’Connor then held a phone conference to discuss the next steps following China’s application.

The initial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was encouraged by then-President Barack Obama as an economic bloc to counter China’s growing dominance in the Asia Pacific. After Mr. Trump withdrew the US from the agreement, Japan led the negotiations that resulted in the CPTPP. In 2018, 11 countries signed the CPTPP, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, and New Zealand.

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