Author: Chen Na
Posted: November 24, 2016
(Beijing) — China said it will try to conclude soon a 16-nation trade pact to deepen ties with its Asian neighbors, an announcement that follows U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that his administration will back out of the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Asian leaders are pressing ahead with talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, Finance Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said during a news briefing Thursday.
“On the basis of respecting common core interests, China will make a concerted effort with all parties to conclude the trade pact as soon as possible and contribute to the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region,” Shen said without giving a time frame.
So far, the 16 countries have conducted 15 rounds of talks, and finance ministers of the nations have had four meetings to negotiate details of the proposed trade deal, Shen said.
The RCEP includes the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus India and five other countries in Oceania and the Far East — including China. The pact is often seen as an alternative to the U.S.-led TPP, which has 12 Pacific Rim signatories but excludes China. To date, none of the TPP signatories has ratified the pact.
The ministry’s statement follows the announcement by Trump on Tuesday that he will withdraw the U.S. from the TPP on his first day in the White House. Trump will assume the presidency on Jan. 20.
When asked how the status of the TPP will influence China, the spokesman said China will deepen reform, continue opening up and actively participate in bilateral and multilateral trade regardless how the TPP and RCEP fare.
During a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting last week, President Xi Jinping pledged to boost global trade and cooperation by giving greater access to foreign investors.