China has expressed strong interest in ensuring the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be transparent and open, raising interesting questions about the Obama administration’s insistence on unprecedented secrecy. Although it has insisted that it will not be part of the partnership, the conservative country, only learning to open itself up to regional integration, now hopes the partnership will truly foster free trade and investment.
China’s spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, Shen Dangyan, recently stated that the Asian nation was closely looking at the TPP negotiations and analyzing the progress made.
China’s comments are in light of recent setbacks in finalizing a deal by the TPP member states. The member states on Friday failed to reach a final deal after four days of negotiations held in the U.S.
Danyang said China stated that it had noticed the failure and hopes the partnership remains open and transparent.
There are 12 Pacific Rim countries involved in the negotiations including: Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore, Peru, Australia, Chile, The United States and Vietnam.
China initially expressed objection to the partnership that will see these 12 Pacific Rim countries integrate their trade systems to provide a free trading block. So opposed was China to the U.S. led partnership that it fronted a different partnership, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) as a counter measure.
The bone of contention for the country was the TPP’s strict regulations and high standards, which were seen as surpassing the development stage of some of the developing countries in the member states. Through its alternative program, it said it would promote regional integration at terms more favourable to the region’s developing countries. Their attempts were not successful.
China would soon soften its stand on the partnership, though choosing to stay on the sidelines as an observer state. Director of Department of International Economic Cooperation, Zhang Jianping, said, "We are very happy to see that those TPP members can reach a consensus - because we think the TPP will be a possible approach for promoting Asia-Pacific economic integration."
The TPP has been acknowledged by economic analysts as one of the most important trade agreements in the region. Through its successful signing, the partnership would enhance regional trade integration, spelling numerous benefits for industries operating in the member states. It would also have permanent spill over effects in world trade and investment.