La Prensa Latina | 18 October 2022
Singapore backs China’s entry into CPTPP, acknowledges lack of consensus
Sydney, Australia, Oct 18 (EFE).- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong on Tuesday reiterated his support for China joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership while speaking in Canberra, although acknowledging that this required a consensus among the 11 members of the treaty.
In September 2021, China had officially sought to become a member of the CPTPP – in which Singapore is the current annual chair – but “there is no consensus yet” among members over Beijing’s entry, Lee said in a press conference along with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
However, the Singapore PM – who is on an official visit to Australia – said that China’s entry into the trade bloc was possible and could be negotiated.
For this, China would need to fulfill the requirements the pact’s requirements, conditions and obligations, a process which Canberra has been wary of for different reasons, such as Beijing imposing a series of measures including tariffs on Australian products.
The CPTPP, which came into effect in December 2018, includes nine other countries apart from Australia and Singapore and accounts for 13 percent of the global trade volume.
These include the world’s third largest economy Japan, as well as Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand.
The CPTPP is the renegotiated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), signed on Feb. 4, 2016 under the leadership of then-president Barack Obama’s United States administration and later scrapped by Donald Trump in 2017.
On Tuesday Lee expressed his concerns over Washington’s decision earlier this month to block Chinese companies or individuals from buying US-manufactured semiconductors and manufacturing material.
“We do worry that valid national security considerations may trigger off further consequences and may result in less economic cooperation, less interdependency, less trust and ultimately a less stable world,” the Singapore leader said in response to a question.
The restrictions, which seek to limit China’s capacity to build necessary parts for the functioning of supercomputers or advanced military systems, came weeks after the US Congress approved law to boost microchip manufacturing in the US.