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China should join TPP to promote economic diplomacy: experts

Monday,Feb 13, 2017

From: People's Daily Online

 

China should take the initiative to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and improve its relations with other countries via economic diplomacy, experts said.

“TPP has some valuable standards that represent new trends of the 21st century, which we should respect, understand and even adapt to. In order to achieve high-level opening up, China should take the initiative to [join TPP],” suggested Huo Jianguo, former president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, at a seminar held by the Center for China & Globalization (CCG) on Feb. 9.

Huo’s remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to officially withdraw from TTP on Jan. 23, after strongly opposing the 12-nation trade agreement during his candidacy.

“China should consider joining TPP as soon as possible, in an effort to promote the benign and steady development of the world’s economic system,” said Wang Xin, vice president of CCG.

Promote economic diplomacy

Experts believe that China’s growing economic power and its leading role in global finance has made economic diplomacy a better method to improve its geopolitical relations. According to China’s Bureau of Statistics, the country is responsible for 26 percent of global economic growth from 2013 to 2015. By the end of 2020, China will represent 30 percent of global economic growth, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Joining TPP would be a priority for future economic diplomacy, as China’s participation will not only strengthen mutual trust among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but will also promote the launch of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), experts argued.

Meanwhile, the support of some TPP members offers China the opportunity to take on an elevated role in the group, as the confirmed withdrawal of the U.S. has caused great consternation in many countries.

During an interview with BBC’s "Today," Australian diplomat Alexander Downer said his country’s government had approached a number of other countries in the group to discuss bringing in China to replace the U.S.

“China should focus on opening up and reform to continue the steady growth of its economy. Through economic diplomacy, the country can seize the chance to increase its influence in international affairs,” said Huo.

An active participant

“Though it would be nice for China to join the TPP, we should also realize that China is not yet a leader, but more like an active participant,” said Zhang Yunling, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

According to Zhang, China should maintain and improve the existing modes of economic cooperation rather than turning immediately to a completely new system. China should see itself as a participant in the world economic arena, and unite other countries to develop TPP.

Zhang also suggested that China could promote the Belt and Road Initiative as a new mode of cooperation. The initiative could improve and supplement existing modes of cooperation, as evidence has shown that an open market is not sufficient to solve all problems related to economic development.

“With great power comes great responsibility. It’s not the time for China to become a leader in the group, but China may still display active influence on international economic issues,” said Huo.

 

From People’s Daily Online, 2017-2-9