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China 'Open-Minded' On TPP

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

14 April 2014


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has now said that his Government is "open-minded" with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations presently being led by the United States, despite previous indications that it could be viewed as going against China's interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Asia Forum, Li disclosed that, "as long as the TPP is conducive to the development of world trade and to a fair and open trading environment, China is happy to see its conclusion."

As regards the completion of regional trade initiatives, China is concentrating on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which aims to bring together the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's (ASEAN) existing free trade agreements into a single comprehensive agreement by the end of 2015.

Li insisted that China is committed, not only to increasing trade liberalization and regional cooperation, but also to maintaining the central role of the World Trade Organization in a multilateral trade system. Both the TPP and the RCEP, he said, could become complementary in the future, and the two treaties, with their overlapping country membership, could go "hand in hand" as mutually reinforcing pathways to an overall Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

The original TPP agreement was signed by New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei in 2005. The US has led negotiations to extend it since 2008, which now also include Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.

The RCEP includes the 10 ASEAN members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – together with its FTA partners – China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand and Australia.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Brunei | Chile | India | trade treaty | Australia | China | Laos | Mexico | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | agreements | Cambodia | Canada | Indonesia | Korea, South | Malaysia | New Zealand | Peru | United States | trade | Japan | Vietnam | Asia-Pacific

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