China ‘needs’ trade pact like CPTPP to force it into domestic reform, says former commerce minister



Cissy Zhou | SCMP

Conditions are right for China to start negotiating entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), but it will be a “jump” for the country to meet the deal’s more stringent requirements, a former high-ranking minister says.

President Xi Jinping said in November last year that China was “actively considering” joining the trade pact, something that was reiterated by Premier Li Keqiang when he delivered the government’s annual work report last week. But there has been debate as to whether China would meet its terms of entry, including on state-owned enterprises, labour rights and e-commerce.

Wei Jianguo, a former vice-minister at the Ministry of Commerce, said China would need to carry out domestic reforms to join the trade deal.

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