BEIJING (REUTERS) – China has filed an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the country’s commerce ministry said on Thursday (Sept 16).
The regional trade pact was signed by 11 nations, including Australia, in 2018.
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao submitted the application to New Zealand’s Trade Minister Damien O’Connor in a written letter, the Chinese ministry said in a statement.
The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between member countries Singapore, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand and Vietnam.
It was signed by the 11 countries in 2018 in Santiago, Chile.
The United States, notably, is not a member, having been withdrawn from the CPTPP’s predecessor, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in 2017 by then-president Donald Trump, who said the deal would be a “potential disaster” for the US.
China announced in February it had held informal talks with some of the members, but stopped short of releasing more details.
Analysts have said that China stands to benefit from joining the trade pact.
A recent report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a US-based think tank, estimated that China’s participation in the CPTPP could lead to US$298 billion (S$401 billion) in additional income gains in the country by 2030.
Should China’s application prove successful, it would become the largest economy in the partnership and further strengthen its position for trade and investment in the region.