Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks at a CEO Dialogue forum Friday via video link, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit, hosted by Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: APEC CEO Dialogues Malaysia 2020 via AP
politics

Japan aims to expand regional free trade pact as UK, China eye membership

19 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Ju-min Park

Japan aims to expand a major regional free trade pact called the CPTPP, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday, potentially catering for China's and Britain's interest in joining the deal.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) links 11 countries including Canada, Australia and Japan.

"Japan will aspire for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific through the early conclusion of the RCEP agreement and the steady implementation and expansion of the CPTPP as next year's chair," Suga said.

Suga made the comment in a pre-recorded video message delivered at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Dialogues, ahead of a leaders' virtual summit later Friday.

RCEP, or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is the world's largest free trade deal signed this month by 15 economies, while the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific is potentially an even larger pact the 21-member APEC has been aspiring to.

A spokesman for the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday his country was open to the idea of joining the CPTPP, while Britain earlier this year announced its intent to pursue accession to the pact.

Meanwhile, during his APEC speech, Suga, who became prime minister in September, reiterated his key policy priorities - digital transformation and reduction of greenhouse gases.

"As people's behavioral patterns shift due to COVID-19, accelerating digital transformation is crucial," he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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Better to keep China out of the CPTPP. America will join when Biden is President.

China can not be trusted with trade deals.

Boycott China.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

NO Communist China thank-you. And the last time I checked, UK was not in the Pacific region, so a big NO to them too.

How about free, democratic Taiwan instead?

7 ( +16 / -9 )

UK and China can get a fake plastic ID to this club. Easily.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

CPTPP doesn't make sense with China. It exists to spite China

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I agree with most comments. Japanese politicians can be so naiive towards China. I wonder how much intellectual property and technological know-how was stolen by the Chinese communist party from Japanese products manufactured in China. BOYCOTT China.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The military alliances in response to China’s expansion and increasing trade with China, giving them even more leverage, are not mutually exclusive. This will be the norm in the next decade.

Headlines read Suga opposes China’s assertiveness; Suga to expand trade pact to include China. The message is clear: we are against China but you won’t see us on a hunger strike either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan aims to expand a major regional free trade pact called the CPTPP, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday, potentially catering for China's and Britain's interest in joining the deal.

If Taiwan joins the TPP, China under CPP would stay out.

The UK is going ahead and most likely to be a new member state as they have officially expressed it and contacted some of other TPP members for accession talks. The UK is in fact active in trade with its commonwealth economies on the Pacific side. Japan and other TPP members also seek an outpost in the European and African side.

For access to the TPP, China faces many technical hurdles to overcome, namely reforms on property rights and state-owned enterprises. Not to mention, they have issues and conflicts in non-economical areas.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How about free, democratic Taiwan instead?"

Are you laughing?? Taiwan is a FREE, DEMOCRATIC???

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Are you laughing?? Taiwan is a FREE, DEMOCRATIC

Yes. Taiwan is a free, democratic nation that follows rule of law and fair trade. Unlike the China Commies who will NEVER be accepted into the exclusive club of the CPTPP.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

China can join tpp only after Taiwan does

3 ( +6 / -3 )

If China joins its another way to make sure they play nice.

The RCEP is not set in stone!

If the Chinese behave bad or aggressive, countries who join will quit including Japan.

I look at the CPTPP in a similar way, let them join, make sure they play by the rules, don't act aggressive, play nice.

Did China invade Taiwan? No

Japan's response should match China's actions.

Fun fact

U.S.A and the rest of the world choose mailand China to recognize as the official China.

Do you people take responsibility for that decision? ? America under Nixon was the one to let them join and to recognize CCP China as the official China and not Taiwan. Live with it. Your fault and responsibility.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Fun fact

U.S.A and the rest of the world choose mailand China to recognize as the official China.

Japan also chooses to diplomatically only recognize PRC over democratic Taiwan. Which is wrong. This has to change.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Unfortunately, Taiwan won't and can't join the CPTPP because it wants to live.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Fighto!

NO Communist China thank-you. And the last time I checked, UK was not in the Pacific region, so a big NO to them too. 

How about free, democratic Taiwan instead?

The part about the UK there would be one minor correction I would make. It’s in the fact that still has several island colonies around the world, wouldn’t that include the Asia-Pacific region as well? You know like a Falkland islands, or a Gibraltar or something like that. If they don’t, I fully agree with you. As well as with everything else you said in that post.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@noriahojanen

The UK is in fact active in trade with its commonwealth economies on the Pacific side.

Yeah, it’s kind of like what I was referring to before. It might be a bit of a stretch, saying that their training with their former colonies on the Pacific side, that constitutes why they should join a free trade pact with that nations on the Pacific side.

But for one other reason why they should be able to join a free trade pact like this: considering Brexit and all, which will take full affect at the beginning of next year. That and that former colonies bit, could constitute a legitimate reason why. If they do still have some island counties in Asia Pacific region, then that would definitely constitute a legitimate reason.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Fighto!

I did a quick google and found Vietnam is in CPTPP and they're communist too? double standards?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Suga is extremely uninspiring. Like a used tissue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes. Taiwan is a free, democratic nation that follows rule of law and fair trade.

Hmm. Taiwan had martial law and basically one party rule for 40 years. It's got a history of unrest.

That said, it's a beautiful country and welcoming people, of course it deserves to be independent of China.

Unlike the China Commies who will NEVER be accepted into the exclusive club of the CPTPP.

Yes, because they don't exist.

The Xi cult, on the other hand, will continue to push and be pushed by wumao types and their fellow apologists for a brutal, authoritarian regime.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The idea that the market is a neutral instrument for defining the common good goes back to conservative politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. (harvard prof.)

A bit shallow for the tigers around of here to think only ideas of the last century..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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