China sends 'positive' signs for TPP

Updated: 2013-07-03 07:57

By Ding Qingfen in Beijing and Joseph Boris in New York (China Daily)

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Beijing may join TPP, although this will take time, sources say

China is becoming "positive" toward the US-led Asia- Pacific free trade agreement, saying it may join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, although it will take time to do so, according to sources at the Ministry of Commerce.

"China is still doing its research (on the TPP)," said a source close to the issue.

Consensus has been reached on the importance of the free trade pact, a step forward from some time ago, when many people were opposed to the proposal, an official told China Daily on condition of anonymity.

The US launched the TPP in 2010 in an attempt to strengthen trade relations with the Asia-Pacific region, and in April participating countries approved Japan joining the TPP talks. Eleven nations are involved, including Canada, Peru, Chile, Vietnam and New Zealand.

The Obama administration hopes to conclude talks on the proposed pact by the end of the year, but many trade experts expect them to stretch into 2014.

With Japan, the world's third-largest economy, on board, the final TPP pact will cover nearly 40 percent of global economic output and one-third of trade worldwide.

Experts said the US sees the TPP as part of its economic rebalancing toward Asia, and also as a response to the growing power of China in Asia and the world. China has repeatedly said it will follow and observe the progress of the TPP, without making its position clear.

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