What are the major signals released by the statement that”China is actively considering joining CPTPP”
China started”home globalization” with a proactive attitude
The predecessor of CPTPP was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), led by the United States and Japan. It was once set up to exclude China. However, after the current US President Trump took office in 2017, the first executive order signed was announcing his withdrawal from the TPP. Subsequently, Japan succeeded the United States. After several months of negotiations with the remaining 10 countries, Japan announced in January 2018 that it had reached the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), and it has frozen the 20 articles originally advocated by the United States in the current CPTPP agreement. The terms reserved room for the return of the United States.
However, nearly three years have passed. Under the premise that the prospects for the return of the United States are still uncertain, the CPTPP member states are the first to hear a clear signal that China will actively consider joining. When attending the 27th APEC Leaders’ Informal Meeting in Beijing on the evening of the 20th, President Xi Jinping pointed out that China welcomes the completion of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and will actively consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Department of the Academy of the Ministry of Commerce, said in an interview with a reporter from the Global Times that joining a regional free trade agreement is a complex and long process, but China’s statement first shows China’s support for global multilateralism and global trade and investment liberalization. Bai Ming believes that a positive and open attitude towards joining the CPTPP includes China’s consideration of joining the CPTPP, as well as the cooperation between China and the CPTPP.”As long as this kind of regional economic cooperation is conducive to promoting economic globalization and conducive to stabilizing the global economic order, China is open to and supports this.”
Director of the Institute of International Affairs, Renmin University of China Wang Yiwei, a member of the Expert Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said in an interview with the Global Times that China is more proactive this time with regard to CPTPP, which reflects the posture of a great power. Wang Yiwei believes that China’s participation in the CPTPP is very important for maintaining the guidance of the global multilateral trading system. It also shows that while leading globalization, China has opened”home field globalization”. In the context of the central government’s advocacy of the”dual cycle” development pattern, this statement will activate the global interconnection of organizations like RCEP and make China’s position in the global industrial chain more comfortable.
“If joining RCEP is a new practice for China to participate in multilateralism, President Xi’s statement on CPTPP today demonstrates China’s milestones on the issue of multilateralism.” Wang Huiyao, Director of Globalization Think Tank (CCG) The comment was made in an interview with the Global Times on the 20th. He believes that this statement made by China’s top leaders facing the leaders of countries in the Asia-Pacific region on such a solemn international occasion is of great practical significance. “CPTPP represents the highest standard free trade agreement in the world, which shows China’s determination to further expand its opening up, join the global economy and regional economies, and promote Asia-Pacific economic integration and Asia-Pacific economic cooperation.”
RCEP focuses on traditional goods trade. CPTPP is a higher-level trade agreement< /strong>
The statement that China will actively consider joining the CPTPP has attracted great attention from the mainstream foreign media. Reuters specifically reminded in its report on the 20th that this statement was less than a week after China joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
Wang Huiyao told the Global Times that the difference between RCEP and CPTPP is relatively large. RCEP focuses on traditional tariffs on trade in goods, while CPTPP includes new business areas such as trade in services, high technology, intellectual property, and data flows, with higher standards.”Many problems that cannot be solved in the WTO, such as digital economy, intellectual property protection, environmental standards, labor standards, state-owned enterprise reform, data flow management, etc., are very comprehensive and detailed in the CPTPP, but in RCEP, these The problem is not involved.” He said.
Are the conditions for China to join the CPTPP now mature? Regarding this issue, Bai Ming believes that the current global situation is constantly changing. Regarding how to actively consider how to join the CPTPP, China will definitely take the actual situation into consideration and proceed with steady progress.
Wang Huiyao is more optimistic about this. He believes that in areas such as intellectual property rights, data circulation, environmental protection, state-owned enterprise reforms, and labor unions, China is constantly approaching the CPTPP standards. China is now one step closer to joining CPTPP, and the next issue is mainly about negotiations.”The RCEP agreement was negotiated for 8 years, and the TPP was negotiated for 10 years before signing the agreement.” He said, therefore, it is not that we express our position today and join tomorrow. It may have to go through several years of negotiations, but This process must begin.”In order to meet the standards, we must further expand opening up and promote reforms, which in turn has given our country the motivation to further open up.”
Wang Huiyao has a positive outlook on the prospects after joining the CPTPP. He believes that this is a huge opportunity for China’s future service industry, high-tech industry and digital economy.”China’s digital economy accounts for 36%of total GDP, and the service industry accounts for nearly 60%of GDP. In the future, China’s digital economy and service industries will have to go out in large numbers. If we join the CPTPP, under the protection of the terms, the agreement All countries in the country must be open to us, and Chinese companies cannot be suppressed casually.” He said that in the future, the suppression of Chinese companies such as Huawei and Tik Tok abroad can be effectively stopped.
In terms of challenges, Wang Huiyao believes that joining CPTPP will not cause too much impact on China’s domestic industries.”When China joined the WTO, there were voices in the country worried about the’wolf’ coming, thinking that China’s economy would be destroyed, especially that China’s auto market would be wiped out. It turned out that this is not the case at all.”
Forcing the United States to participate in building a community with a shared future in the Asia-Pacific
After Biden takes office, the United States should return to the CPTPP. Public opinion in the United States There was a heated discussion. Bloomberg’s editorial board issued a statement on the 20th that the United States should not let itself fall behind in trade. The”Business Insider” magazine called for Biden to rejoin the CPTPP and build confidence by”returning to Asia.” Experts on trade issues interviewed by the Global Times generally believe that CPTPP will play an important role in reviving Sino-US relations.
Wang Yiwei said that after Bi came to power, China was in a strategic window period, and it must be more proactive to”pull” Sino-US relations back. Otherwise, if”Trumpism” is repeated four years later. Entering the White House will reappear the danger of China-US decoupling.”China’s statement to participate in the CPTPP is also in a sense forcing the United States to participate, and RCEP docking to form FTAAP (Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area), building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future, and riveting Sino-US relations.” He said.
Wang Huiyao holds the same view. He believes that China’s statement at this time is sending a huge positive signal to Biden. Biden wants to engage in multilateralism, burying unilateralism and”America first”, while China has constantly expressed its stance on this issue.”Our participation in RCEP is a commitment to multilateral trade and created a favorable atmosphere. Now China has expressed its intention to actively join the CPTPP. This is another favorable commitment.” He said, this is also to show Biden that China and the United States There are many things in common.
“If China and the United States start negotiations on the CPTPP, there will be a new platform between the two countries.” Wang Huiyao said,”There are more and more platforms for dialogue between the two countries. There will be more and more common languages and fewer frictions, which will also promote the recovery of Sino-US relations.” In addition, he believes that the negotiations between China and the United States in the CPTPP can in turn promote WTO reform.”If China and the United States can reach an agreement on the CPTPP, the difficulties faced under the WTO framework can be resolved. This will promote the reshaping of the global trade pattern in the new stage and new business conditions, and make the world more balanced and Comprehensive and reliable development, and reduce the anti-globalization caused by populism.” He said.
(Reporters Li Sikun, Ni Hao, Tu Lei)
(Source:Global Times-Global Network)