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TPP for China: To be in or not, is a question?

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

11-03-2015 10:29 BJT

By Li Shouen, CNTV Commentator

Nearly a month ago, on Oct. 5, news came out that the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Atlanta, Ga. United States.

China, the world’s second largest economy, and one of the most important players in the Pan-Pacific region, is excluded! Consequently, heated debates have ensued in the country ever since.

Then since TPP is here, is China ready for it? Should Beijing join the club? How will the country benefit? And what would be some advantages for staying away?
To share opinions on this matter, Chinese experts with  broad international vision, the Western Returned Scholars Association - Chinese Overseas-Educated Scholars Association and the Information Center of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee had organized its first Season Forum for Overseas-Educated Scholars in Beijing on Oct. 30.

Chen Eddie, Managing Director and President of Greater China of Eurazeo, believed that being excluded is a big loss for the nation.

By analyzing global economic and trade trends and comparing the World Trade Organization (WTO), Free Trade Area (FTA) and TPP, he summarized the importance of rule-setting as founders of an organization.

Beijing has lost an opportunity to become a founding member, and loses its privileges to participate in rule-making for the new trade bloc. 

Huang Xiaoqing, Founder & CEO of CLOUDMINDS Inc., held the TPP has brought some pressure to China, but it can be taken as a driving force for Beijing to deepen its reform.

Putting aside whether to join the TPP or not, he believes reforming state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and strengthening protections on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are vital for the country, no matter if Beijing participates in existing trade rules or establishes its own rules in the future.

Gao Zhikai, Director of China Energy Safety Research Institute, argued that it’s too early to discuss China’s “in” or “out” of TPP, let alone the gains or losses of joining.

The TPP is branded as a trade agreement, it should be open, transparent and “sunny.” Yet, negotiations were held under the shadows with participating countries signing strict confidentiality agreements.

Though it’s understandable to do so during negotiating, nearly a month has passed and the people within the 12 countries, let alone the public of other countries, who have wide economic connections with those signing nations, do not know the terms and conditions.

He added that without a thorough understanding, it’s not advisable to rush to any conclusions. He urged the 12 nations to publicize the agreement as early as possible, so other countries can adjust their policies accordingly.

He suggested that if the TPP is an organization to promote free trade among members and is beneficial to the global economy, Beijing should join.

Yet if the TPP is, as said by some analysts, a means of “ideologizing” China or excluding the nation with political values led by the US under the disguise of free trade, instead of a pure trade agreement, then Beijing must not consider signing up.

To be in or out of the TPP is important, but what’s more important is whether the nation has the right of speech in any organization.

Yi Min, CEO of China Business, MTR Corporation Limited, insisted that whatever influence TPP would bring to China, what China needs to do is “to forge iron, you need a strong hammer” that is to continue its domestic development.

He took Chinese rail-track traffic as an example. Years ago, we needed to import highway technology from advanced countries, but nowadays, China has developed into one of the leading players in track traffic and MTR has signed contracts to participate in subway or railway construction in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia.

Being strong, you hold the power to change existing rules, he added.
For China, to be in or not in the TPP, is, indeed a question. But, if China continues its efforts to build a stronger nation, the question might change from today’s “TPP is here, is China ready?” to one day -- “China is here, is TPP, or whatever other trade pact, ready?”


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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