09:40 GMT +320 November 2019
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    The People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes fly along Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol during Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit in Washington, DC, US on January 18, 2011.

    How China Can Use US TPP Mistakes to Solidify Own Positions in Asia-Pacific

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    Representatives of 15 countries will have trade talks in Chile on March 14-15, with the key issue on the agenda being how to integrate the economies and trade relations in the Asia-Pacific Region.

    The meeting is taking place after United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal. Intensively promoted by the administration of Barack Obama, the agreement was labelled by Trump as bad and dangerous for the American labor market.

    China will be represented at the talks by government special envoy for Latin America Ying Heming.

    Commentators note that although China has agreed to participate in the negotiations in Chile, Beijing has stated that they are not related to the TPP agenda.  Thus, China wants to distant itself from the deal previously spearheaded by Washington.

    According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Beijing’s decision to join the meeting was due to China’s growing role in developing trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Nevertheless, Beijing has long been skeptical about the TPP and regarded the deal as part of Washington’s effort to deter China.

    China’s attitude to the TPP has not changed though, according to Cheng Fengying, an expert at the Center for World Economy of the Chinese Institute for Modern International Studies.

    "First of all, it should be made clear that the meeting in Chile is a high-level international meeting on economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, including the members of the TPP and other regional powers. It is not a meeting under the flag of the TPP," the expert told Sputnik China.

    Moreover, China cannot take part in TPP sessions because Beijing is not part of this mechanism. Earlier, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying noted that a Chinese delegation was invited by Chile, the current chair of the TPP.

    "The talks are expected to focus on economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific regions after Washington’s withdrawal from the TPP deal. China’s admission to the agreement will not be in discussion. Moreover, Beijing has not called for its admission to the deal," Cheng Fengying explained.

    The TPP deal was initially politicized and participants of the talks in Chile will try to remove this barrier and focus on developing options for deeper economic integration, according to Ekaterina Arapova, an expert at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).

    "The talks could provide a platform for an analysis of the current global disintegrational processes. Moreover, the reasons behind the failure of the TPP may be partially discussed. At the same time, the meeting is portrayed not as a TPP forum, in order to diminish the negative emotional and judgmental context around the agreement," Arapova said.

    According to her, the goal of the meeting is not to "revive the TPP in its initial form" but to work out a framework for regional trade ties and further integration.

    Arapova continued that the negotiations in Chile could focus on working out new socially-oriented integration and cooperation formats. Such a strategy complies with Beijing’s approach to regional integration.

    "In its domestic efforts, China is now trying to work out socially-oriented principles and technologies, including improving living standards and protecting the environment. In this case, China’s domestic and foreign interests are the same," she pointed out.

    Many experts also suggest that China will learn a lesson from Washington’s mistakes in the TTP deal and other flaws that prevented the development of Asia-Pacific integration processes.

     

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    cooperation, integration, trade, talks, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Donald Trump, China, United States
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