TPP-11 trade ministers meet to discuss expansion procedures

TPP-11 trade ministers meet to discuss expansion procedures

Trade ministers from the 11 signatories to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will meet in Tokyo

cptpp japan 2019

Photo: Handout

Trade ministers from the 11 signatories to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will meet in Tokyo today to discuss procedures to accept new members.

The UK has shown interest in seeking membership, while China remains “open” to joining as a hedge against US attempts to economically isolate it. Japan—the bloc’s leading economy—has been a strong supporter of British ascension. Tokyo sees London’s entry as strengthening global free trade against the protectionist agenda led by the Trump administration.

Consensus is expected to be found on expanding the trade alliance but not to lower entry standards.

This more easily aligns CPTPP legal and transparency standards with those of Britain—highly motivated to find new trade alliances upon exiting the EU. However, those same standards will remain an ongoing obstacle to Chinese entry. For example, Beijing is unlikely to want its state-owned enterprises to share information with other CPTPP countries, as required under current bloc rules.

Both British and Chinese entry could turn the bloc into a truly global alliance, but British entry looks more achievable in the short-term. However, if Beijing and Washington cannot agree terms to end their trade war, China will likely wish to join the CPTPP earlier than anticipated.

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