What are the major signals that China is actively considering joining CPTPP?

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Direct news: President Xi Jinping at APEC on Friday Organized the 27th Informal Leaders’ Meeting and stated that China welcomes the completion of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement RCEP, and will actively consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, also known as the CPTPP. Strongly concerned. How do you comment on this?

Special commentator Zhang Sinan:From the official signing of RCEP to the first time that China expressed a positive attitude towards joining CPTPP from the highest level of leaders, foreign media couldn’t help feeling that at the end of the Trump era, the Asia-Pacific will usher in a new world with more free trade.

Why is China’s attitude towards CPTPP important? For the Asia-Pacific, this will fundamentally determine whether cooperation prevails or competition prevails between the two sets of regional economic integration processes of RCEP and CPTPP. In the reality of as many as seven overlapping member states,”cooperation will benefit both, and struggle will hurt both” is not a false statement.

In fact, China’s positive attitude towards joining the CPTPP is itself the chairman of the country Xi Jinping said at the APEC video conference that “firmly defend multilateralism and insist on building an open world economy” and strive for the concrete presentation of “building an Asia-Pacific free trade area at an early date”, which reflects China’s replacement of the United States with an “Asia-Pacific community with a shared future”. The determination and will of the Asia-Pacific New Cold War System.

From the perspective of APEC, it’s not difficult to find that except Outside of Papua New Guinea and the United States, APEC members are either RCEP or CPTPP members. In other words, if China succeeds in joining the CPTPP, APEC will have the opportunity to further integrate RCEP and CPTPP, build itself into the foundation of greater economic integration, and realize the development of human free trade following the post-war GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and WTO. The greatest achievement in history.

For China, increase its influence on CPTPP and even join The CPTPP itself can also effectively regulate the Biden administration’s China policy from the side. It is worth noting that Biden made it clear that although he does not agree with the continuation of the Trump administration’s tariff war strategy against China, he will still”strengthen cooperation with allies and jointly contain China.” In a sense, after Biden came to power, it is already a high probability event to continue the Obama-era”return to Asia-Pacific” strategy.

But don’t forget, TPP, the predecessor of CPTPP, this United States The political and economic structure built by the state to contain China is exactly the core component of the”return to the Asia-Pacific” strategy. Therefore, it is necessary for China to take all feasible measures to prevent the CPTPP from being reshaped into a”New Asia-Pacific Cold War System” for us after the return of the United States, and to effectively maintain the stability and prosperity of itself and the entire Asia-Pacific region.

At the same time, China appropriately favors CPTPP, and it can also further enhance Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. These major allies of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region”decouple from China””The opportunity cost. We have noticed that these countries have signed the RCEP out of consideration of their own economic interests, and rejected the Trump administration’s attempts to divide the world pattern and isolate China by using ideology as the border. They are also members of the CPTPP. If China can forge further ties with these countries, in addition to improving its surrounding strategic environment, it can also make the Biden administration’s strategy of isolating China and its practical operations facing The difficulty is even higher than that of the Trump administration.

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Direct News: After three years, the APEC Leaders’ Summit reached a joint statement again. For Trump, who has always repelled multilateralism, how can you reach agreement with leaders of other economies this time? To what extent will the United States revise current trade protectionism in the future?

Special commentator Zhang Sinan: I have noticed that the outside world is generally surprised that Trump was able to attend this APEC meeting and issued the first joint statement with leaders of various economies. In 2018, it was Trump who insisted on pursuing a trade protectionist policy that caused the APEC informal leaders’ meeting to fail to reach a joint statement for the first time in history.

And Trump has never shown any interest in the multilateralist architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. The United States under his leadership has neither withdrawn from the TPP nor signed the RCEP. In fact, just before the APEC meeting, he was absent from the ASEAN Ten-nation Summit and the broader East Asia Summit. Even at this APEC meeting, Trump once refused to use the official APEC background in the video conference and replaced it with a background wall decorated with the emblem of the US President.

As ​​for the joint statement of the APEC meeting, the outside world is also curious, Trang How much recognition does Pu give? Judging from the content of the joint statement, Trump seems to have reached an agreement with leaders of other economies on maintaining the framework of multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific region. On the other hand, according to a brief statement from the White House, Trump’s video conference The subject of the speech was, however, that the United States’ economic recovery and its leadership in the global health field did not mention anything about international multilateralism.

The Singaporean media ridiculed that Trump attended this meeting,” The symbolic meaning is far greater than the actual meaning.” The German media pointed out that Trump may not care about what was discussed at the meeting or what was achieved. He just took this opportunity to show that he is the “current president” or even “ The image of”President of the World” is used to put pressure on Biden, who won the 2020 general election.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pointed out that the US trade policy under Trump’s leadership As a result, the recent development of APEC has been”very slow”, and the Biden administration”will introduce more multilateral policies.”

I don’t deny that after Biden takes office, he will inevitably make certain amendments to the current international economic and trade policies of the United States, as Lee Hsien Loong said. But I don’t think that the current trade protectionism in the United States is purely due to Trump’s personal governance style and ability; in other words, Trump is an effect, not a cause.

The real reason is that the United States is overly dependent on the petrodollar system and financial industry institutions. De-industrialization and other deep-seated social structural contradictions. I won’t go into this concretely today, but what I want to point out is that before these deep-seated structural problems are resolved, the United States will be under the haze of trade protectionism for a long time, and Trump is just the beginning. Just as Biden emphasized in his campaign platform,”Before investing in the competitiveness of the United States, he will not participate in the negotiation of a new trade agreement.” In a sense, it is hoped that Biden’s coming to power will revise U.S. trade protectionism in a short period of time, and it is destined to be”flowers in the mirror” and nothing.