CHINA: East Asian giant China has applied to join an 11-nation Asia-Pacific free trade group on Friday. China took this step to increase its influence over international policies. As a representative of the Comprehensive and Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Minister Wang Wentao applied to the Trade Minister of New Zealand.
Earlier, President Barack Obama promoted the CPTPP as part of Washington’s increased emphasis on relations with Asia.
The CPTPP includes agreements on market access, movement of labor, and government procurement. Initially, China was not included in the group, and Donald Trump backed out in 2017. Meanwhile, Trump’s successor hasn’t rejoined the group yet.
The application cements Beijing’s “leadership in global trade” and leaves the United States “increasingly isolated.”
Other members of CPTPP include Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. As per the reports, Britain is still negotiating to join. If China joins, that would quadruple the total population within the group to some two billion people.
China is also a member of various other trading arrangements, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes many nations in Asia that are not part of the CPTPP.
China under Xi has appeared to many as an aggressive regional power—as we see in the South China Sea, on the issue of Taiwan, and in its use of trade as a weapon against Australia.