As part of its efforts to enhance its influence in the region, China has sought to join a crucial Asia-Pacific trade deal. The announcement comes only one day after a landmark security agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia was achieved. The United States established the deal that finally became the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to offset China’s hegemony. However, former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it in 2017. In a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, Chinese commerce minister, Wang Wentao stated that China has filed its application to join the free trade agreement.
The pact’s administrative headquarters is in New Zealand. As per the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Wang and Mr. O’Connor then conducted a conference call to determine upcoming procedures after China’s application. The initial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was pushed by then-President Barack Obama as an economic union to counter China’s growing dominance in the Asia-Pacific. The United Kingdom formally began discussions to join the CPTPP in June, while Thailand has also expressed willingness in signing the agreement. Joining the CPTPP would be a significant step forward for China, particularly after signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 14 other nations in November 2020.
The RCEP is the world’s biggest commercial bloc, with members including South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, as well as New Zealand. China’s declaration that it has officially sought to join the CPTPP comes only one day after the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia signed a historic security treaty in an effort to offset Beijing’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific region. This deal will allow Australia to develop nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, utilizing technology shared by the United States and the United Kingdom. According to experts, the agreement, which will also encompass artificial intelligence and other technologies, is Australia’s largest defense collaboration in decades.