China to study joining TPP

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Bangkok Post | 30 May 2013

China to study joining TPP

China said it’s studying the possibility of joining the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks, a move that comes about a month after the existing 11 members allowed Japan to join the negotiations.

"We will analyse the advantages, disadvantages and the possibility of joining the TPP, based on careful research and according to principles of equality and mutual benefit," Shen Danyang, a Commerce Ministry spokesman, said in a statement on its website on Thursday. "China also hopes to exchange information and materials with TPP members on the negotiations."

The nation’s inclusion in the talks would bring together the world’s three biggest economies, accounting for about 40% of global gross domestic product. Countries currently involved in the TPP completed the 17th round of talks in Peru last week and aim to reach an agreement by year’s end.

China began talks this month with 15 other Asian countries on a separate trade agreement called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. That pact would include Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China’s statement on the TPP was included as one of several different hot issues posted in a question-and-answer form on the ministry’s website.

The existing parties to the TPP talks are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Japan is simultaneously pushing ahead with talks on a raft of trade pacts, including with South Korea and China, Australia and the European Union.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told US President Barack Obama during his visit to Bangkok in November last year that Thailand was interested in joining the pact.

In November, then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton invited China to join the TPP in a speech in Singapore.

TPP countries agreed to admit Japan to the talks on April 20, saying in a statement that it would allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to join in a manner that allows the negotiations to continue expeditiously towards conclusion.

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source: Bangkok Post