Fri, 22 Oct 2021

Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], September 20 (ANI): The Malaysian government says it "looks forward to welcoming" China's entry into the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, a media report said on Monday.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. It was signed by these 11 countries in March 2018 in Santiago, Chile.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry said in a statement to Bernama on Sunday that it is "encouraged" by China's interest in the free trade deal and that negotiations with China could start in 2022 at the earliest, reported Nikkei Asia.

"With the ongoing domestic efforts setting Malaysia right on track towards ratification and the possible commencement of China's accession negotiations with the CPTPP membership next year, MITI is confident that bilateral trade and investment ties between Malaysia and China will grow to greater heights in the near future," Nikkei Asia quoted the ministry statement.

According to the publication, China filed an application to join the pact on Thursday in an apparent bid to increase its clout in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States withdrew from the initiative in 2017 before it took effect the following year.

Meanwhile, Japan, a leading economy in the grouping, has said it will carefully analyze whether China is ready to fulfill the high-standard rules required of a member country, reported Nikkei Asia.

Moreover, Canberra on Friday gave hints that it will not accept the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal from China unless Beijing removes 'additional' tariffs imposed on imports from Australia. This development came amid deteriorating relations between Canberra and Beijing.

Their relations have dipped after the Chinese leadership was incensed with Canberra calling for an independent investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

Relations had started to fray in 2018 when Australia banned Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies from building its 5G network, the first Western country to do so. Canberra has also been locked in an ongoing trade war with Beijing for several months as China has slapped sanctions on various Australian products. (ANI)

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