BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Reuters) – China has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the country’s trade ministry said Thursday, as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to strengthen his influence in Commerce.
Chinese Trade Minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to join the free trade agreement in a letter to New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O’Connor, the Chinese ministry said in a statement.
The CPTPP was signed by 11 countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand in 2018.
Before that, it was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s regional influence.
He was at the heart of then-President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia, but his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the pact in 2017.
Joining the CPTPP would be a major boost for China after signing the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement last year.
Beijing has been pushing for its inclusion in the pact, notably noting that the Chinese and Australian economies have enormous potential for cooperation. However, relations between the two countries deteriorated.
Britain and Thailand have also expressed interest in joining the CPTPP.
Wang and O’Connor held a conference call to discuss next steps following China’s bid, China’s Commerce Ministry said.
Reporting by Colin Qian, Twinnie Siu and Tom Daly; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jonathan Oatis
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