As part of its efforts to enhance its influence in the area, China has sought to join a crucial Asia-Pacific trade deal.
The action comes only one day after the announcement of a landmark security agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The United States established the deal that would eventually become the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to offset China’s influence.
Former President Donald Trump, on the other hand, pulled the US out of it in 2017.
In a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, Chinese commerce minister Wang Wentao announced the world’s second biggest economy has filed its application to join the free trade pact.
The pact’s administrative headquarters are in New Zealand.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Wang and Mr. O’Connor then conducted a phone conference to discuss the next steps after China’s application.
The original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was conceived by then-President Barack Obama as an economic union to counter China’s growing dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.
Following Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, Japan took the lead in negotiating the CPTPP.
In 2018, 11 nations, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, and New Zealand, signed the CPTPP.
Understanding Trade Agreements
The UK formally began discussions to join the CPTPP in June, and Thailand has expressed interest in doing so as well.
China’s participation in the CPTPP would be a huge boost for the country, especially after it inked a separate free trade pact with 14 nations in November, dubbed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are all members of the RCEP, which is the world’s biggest trade bloc.
Historic Agreement In The Making
China’s statement that it has officially sought to join the CPTPP comes a day after the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia signed a landmark security deal, ostensibly to offset Beijing’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific area.
For the first time, Australia will be able to build nuclear-powered submarines thanks to technology given by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Analysts say the agreement, which includes Artificial Intelligence and other technology, is Australia’s largest defense collaboration in decades.
Aukus has been chastised by China, which has described it as “very reckless” and “narrow-minded.”
According to Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, the alliance risks “severely undermining regional peace… and escalating the weapons race.”