China applies to join Pacific trade pact abandoned by Trump

Beijing, Sept. 17 (BNA): China has applied to join the 11-nation Asia-Pacific Free Trade Group in a bid to increase its influence on international politics, according to the Associated Press.

The Ministry of Commerce announced Thursday that Commerce Minister Wang Wentao has submitted an application to the New Zealand Minister of Commerce as a representative of the Comprehensive and Advanced Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The CPTPP was originally a Trans-Pacific Partnership, a group promoted by then-President Barack Obama as part of Washington’s growing focus on relations with Asia.

China was not included in the initial group and Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, withdrew in 2017. President Joe Biden has not returned to join the group.

The CPTPP, which took effect in 2018, includes agreements on market access, labor movement and government procurement.

Other member states include Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Britain is negotiating to join. If China joined, it would double the total population within the group to about 2 billion people.

China is also a member of several other trade arrangements, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes many countries in Asia that are not part of the CPTPP.

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