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China has both the willingness and capability to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and has been studying the terms, costs and benefits of joining the pact, said Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce.
Addressing a news conference in Beijing on Sunday, Wang emphasized that China’s accession to the CPTPP would be in the best interests of the country, all CPTPP members, and the economic recovery of the Asia-Pacific and the world as a whole.
He said China has already carried out pilot projects and experiments in some pilot free trade zones and the Hainan free trade port in accordance with CPTPP rules, standards and management obligations.
The official hoped that all CPTPP members will support China’s accession, which would result in a tripling of the consumer base of CPTPP members and a 1.5 times expansion of the pact members’ total GDP.
Aligning with its commitment to global trade liberalization, China filed an application to join the CPTPP in September, 2021.
Wang said that Asia-Pacific region’s free trade is supported by two wheels, namely the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the CPTPP. China is already a member of the RCEP, and if it joins the CPTPP, it will strengthen the progress of both mechanisms towards promoting economic integration in the region.
This will also enhance the stability, safety, reliability and efficiency of local industries and supply chains, he added.
The CPTPP is a free trade agreement comprising 11 countries, which came into effect in December 2018. Its member nations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Compared to other free trade agreements signed by China, the CPTPP covers a wider range of areas, including regulations addressing labor and environmental concerns.