China to keep open mind on CPTPP trade pact

Xinhua
China will assume an open and positive attitude toward the idea of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Ministry of Commerce said.
Xinhua

China will assume an open and positive attitude toward the idea of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

China welcomes any open, inclusive, and transparent regional free trade agreement that can help foster economic globalization and regional economic integration. It must, however, adhere to the principles of the World Trade Organization, ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said.

The country will further advance institutional opening-up, and it hopes that all sides can join hands in boosting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation to achieve win-win results, said Gao.

Effective since December 30, 2018, the CPTPP is a trade pact among 11 countries, including Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Chile, and Mexico, whose aggregate gross domestic product accounts for 13 percent of the world economy.

China is also ready to work with Japan and South Korea to speed up negotiations on a free trade agreement and strive to achieve substantive results as early as possible, according to the ministry. It is willing to make full use of resources and maintain consultations and communication with its two counterparts via video conferences, teleconferences and other means, Gao said.

Last week 15 Asia-Pacific economies, including China, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, forming the world’s largest free trade bloc. The signing of the RCEP has created conditions conducive to speeding up the negotiations, Gao said.

To date, a total of 16 rounds of talks have been held since the free trade agreement negotiation was launched in November 2012.

The three sides have exchanged views on goods trade, services trade, investment and rules, and have made positive progress, according to Gao.

China is accelerating negotiations with the European Union on China-EU investment treaty, according to the ministry. The two sides are currently conducting the 34th round of negotiations, or the ninth round of official negotiations this year on the treaty, Gao said. He added that China is willing to maintain communications with the European side and strive to start the process of making a free trade agreement early on the basis of the investment treaty.

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