China, US 'ready to engage' on TPP talks

Updated: 2013-11-01 23:24

By FU JING in Haikou (China Daily)

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China and the United States strongly intend to engage each other in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a "high-standard" trade agreement involving the US and other countries including Japan and Australia, according to insiders close to both governments.

China's leaders see entering into regional trade and agreements as an opportunity for the nation to pursue market-oriented reform and transform its economic development pattern.

Those goals will be high on the agenda next week when the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China convenes in Beijing.

"I was informed by high-level US officials recently that the US side hasn't meant to exclude China from the TPP trade arrangement," said Long Yongtu, who was China's chief negotiator for its entry into the World Trade Organization.

Long commented on Friday at the start of a two-day international forum on emerging economies, which was organized by the China Institute for Reform and Development.

"The Chinese side is also taking an active interest in the TPP. When it's ready, we are going to launch negotiations with the US," Long added.

Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, said that China has become "serious and proactive" in engaging the US on the TPP. "As far as I know, China's leadership has shown strong interest in engaging the US in this regard," Chi said.

As China is going to launch another round of "reform and opening up", Chi said that the government should take the opportunity to enter into multinational and regional trade and investment agreements to support its process of globalization.

"We have had very a successful experience in transforming the pressures of entry into the WTO into incentives and development opportunities," said Chi.

"I think regional negotiations for trade investment agreements also mean opportunities, if we handle them properly."

The US launched negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with European Union recently. It's been holding TPP talks with Asia-Pacific countries since 2010. Some observers have said that these moves demonstrate Washington's intention to isolate Beijing.

"We should not doubt the sincerity of the US side" in bringing China to the negotiating table, said Long.

China and the US have already completed several rounds of investment pact negotiations to facilitate bilateral business activity. It's very likely that China will also enter into such negotiations with the EU when both sides hold a summit later this month.

"I found that China's new leadership is determined to open further and show greater interest in boosting economic interdependence with other economies," said Chi.

"I think more decisive principles and measures will be announced in a few days when China's decision-makers meet."