Author: Huang Ge
Posted: November 22, 2016

China’s opening up will not be affected by any changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and will continue to deepen economic ties and boost growth in the global market, experts said.

The remarks come after US President-elect Donald Trump released a video saying he would pull the US out of the TPP on his first day in the White House.

After seven years of negotiations, the TPP was signed in February by 12 countries and regions, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico, which together account 40 percent of the world’s economy. It is currently awaiting ratification to enter into force.

Member countries and regions that have signed the TPP would be impacted if the US quit the trade deal, experts said.

It is not easy to get so many countries and regions to reach a deal as each member has to make compromises, said Zhuang Rui, deputy dean of the Institute of International Economics at Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics.

If the TPP fails, its members will lose the market benefits they would have gained under the deal, Zhuang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Signatories of the TPP differ largely, from developed countries like Canada and Japan to developing countries such as Vietnam. Every country and region in the TPP has their own focus of interest, and the US is the one that would pay more if greater openness could be achieved among them, according to experts.

Alternative options

Given the possible collapse of the TPP, other countries and regions may look for new cooperation mechanisms in the future and promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) could be put on the agenda, Bai Ming, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times.

China aims to pursue the FTAAP as an institutional mechanism for ensuring an open economy in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday told the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit held in Lima, Peru.

«China is consistently holding an open attitude and will continue to pursue opening up and free trade area strategies no matter what kind of changes take place with the TPP,» Bai said on Tuesday.

Zhuang echoed Bai’s view, saying that as the TPP has not taken force, if it fails, no substantial impact would happen to countries and regions [like China] that are not involved in the trade deal.

China’s concerns

The incoming US administration seems likely to adopt a de-globalization strategy, and Trump intends to transfer the growth pursuit focus into the US instead of global markets, which experts noted would hurt its investment relations with China.

If the TPP fails, the advancement of the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between China and the US would be hindered, noted Zhuang.

In 2008, China and the US began BIT negotiations to increase mutual investment. The two sides exchanged new negative list proposals during their 28th round of BIT talks held in Beijing in August, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

«As Trump tries to protect the US market, Chinese companies will encounter more barriers to enter the US in the future and the US will take an increasing protectionist stance toward Chinese goods,» Zhuang said, noting that the Sino-US trade and economic ties are sound but face frictions.

China is expected to improve its competitiveness in the world market in a bid to beef up economic ties with other countries and regions, noted Bai.

Bai also warned that given the current context, the long-planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal between the EU and the US also faces uncertainty.

In the future, the US will focus on its market first and encourage more investment to flow into the US market, Bai said, but noted that «the country will not forget its global deployment and will continue to expand its presence in global markets.»

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