China has submitted an application to join a crucial Asia-Pacific trade agreement

Image credit: Wall Street Journal

As part of its efforts to bolster its influence in the area, China has filed to join a crucial Asia-Pacific trade pact.

The action comes just one day after the announcement of a landmark security agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The United States created the accord 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 largest 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 convened a phone conference to discuss the next steps following China’s application.

The initial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was pushed by then-President Barack Obama as a way to counter China’s growing economic power.

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. The UK formally began negotiations 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 big 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 largest trading bloc. China’s declaration 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 counter Beijing’s influence in the Asia-Pacific area.

For the first time, Australia will be able to build nuclear-powered submarines thanks to technology donated by the United States and the United Kingdom. Analysts say the agreement, which includes Artificial Intelligence and other technology, is Australia’s largest defence alliance in decades. Aukus has been chastised by China, which has described it as “very irresponsible” and “narrow-minded.”

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