China in talks with CPTPP members about inclusion: commerce ministry
Published: Oct 27, 2022 08:35 PM
CPTPP photo: VCG

CPTPP photo: VCG

China is engaging, communicating and negotiating with the members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in accordance with the free trade pact's accession procedure, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday.

The spokesperson said that China is committed to high-level openness in its market access that will go beyond the country's existing treaty practices. The latest progress typifies China's unwavering resolve to open its door wider to the world, experts said. 

The update was revealed by MOFCOM spokesperson Shu Jueting at a regular press conference. China officially applied to join the CPTPP on September 16, 2021. The application has drawn attention from all parties and met with positive responses both in China and abroad, Shu said, speaking of the move as a significant push for the country's expanding opening-up in a new era.

As a high-standard international economic and trade agreement, the CPTPP covers an extensive range of areas. The high-standard free trade pact is in line with China's efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up, Shu said.

Joining the CPTPP augurs well for China to expand high-level opening-up, improve the quality and level of international circulation, push for deeper reforms and foster high-quality development. 

It also helps the expansion of CPTPP into the world's second-largest economy and boosting the grouping's economic and trade ties with China, she said.

In an effort to actively push forward with the accession process, China has done comprehensive and deep research and assessment of the pact's terms and stipulations. The country has also combed through reform measures that might need to be adopted, and the laws and regulations that may have to be modified for the CPTPP membership, the spokesperson said.

"We stand ready to continuously deepen reforms, strive to fully meet CPTPP standards, and make high-level openness commitments in the sphere of market access beyond China's existing treaty practices," Shu said.

The ministry has pledged to join hands with all sides to push for regional economic integration and trade and investment liberalization, thereby making contributions to propping up global economic stability and recovery. 

The newest progress on China's application for CPTPP membership exemplifies the country's uncompromising stance on opening-up, as it eyes joining the high-standard CPTPP, Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

With an increasingly shorter list of off-limits areas for foreign investment, the country has already outdone certain CPTPP members in terms of market access, Gao said, noting that the country has been well-prepared for the inclusion.

Earlier this year, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, and the MOFCOM released the 2022 edition of the negative list for market access.

The latest negative list outlined 117 items, six items fewer than the previous edition issued in December 2020. It's a growing trend of a slimmer list and wider market access. The 2020 version included 123 items, eight fewer than the one in 2019.

China has remained a major destination for foreign investment globally despite headwinds. 

In the first nine months of the year, the country's actual use of foreign investment amounted to $155.3 billion, an increase of 18.9 percent from the year before, MOFCOM data showed on Thursday.

Germany's actualized investment in China soared 114.3 percent, while investment from South Korea rallied 90.7 percent, that from Japan gained 39.5 percent and that from the UK was up 22.3 percent.

China's non-financial outbound direct investment was up 6.3 percent year-on-year to reach $85.85 billion in January-September.