China looks into joining CPTPP agreement

The trade deal that was initiated by the U.S. to counter Chinese influence might end up with China as a member.

Bloomberg reports Chinese President Xi Jinping held informal talks with some members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement in February, and China has begun technical talks with several members including Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand.

There is no guarantee China will be admitted to the CPTPP since it would have to agree to all provisions already in the deal, such as labor guidelines, state-owned enterprises, government subsidies, e-commerce and cross-border data transfer.

Some U.S. allies might not allow China in, including Australia, which has elevated trade tensions with the Chinese, and Japan, which reportedly wants to see if China lives up to the promises made in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed last fall.

The U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership under President Trump.  During his campaign, President Biden called the TPP a good idea, but wanted more protections for workers and the environment.

The CPTPP is the 11-country free trade agreement addressing tariffs, food safety regulations, rules of product origin, and data collection.

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