In a statement China’s Commerce Ministry said, China has filed an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The Chinese move is aimed at bolstering its clout in global trade.
The application was made by Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor.
In 2018, 11 countries including Canada, Chile, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, agreed to create a trade alliance called the CPTPP, which was earlier known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP was seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s regional influence.
Japan, which chairs the CPTPP this year, said it will consult with other members of the alliance before responding to China’s request; it stopped short of signaling a timeline for doing so.
“Japan believes that it’s necessary to determine whether China, which submitted a request to join the TPP-11, is ready to meet its extremely high standards,” said Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on Friday.
The TPP was central to the Obama Administration’s strategic Asia pivot strategy.
China has lobbied to join the pact saying its economy as well as that of Australia hold enormous potential for cooperation in contrast to its trade actions with Australia, where it has imposed punitive levies against Australian exports, souring relations between the two countries.
Earlier this year in June, Britain began negotiations to enter the trade pact; Thailand has also signaled interest in joining it.