NZ: China unlikely to join TPP talks
WELLINGTON: China is unlikely to join talks on an Asia-Pacific free trade agreement any time soon, but eventually the world's No. 2 economy will have to be involved in the pact, said New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser yesterday.
Speaking at a New Zealand-China business event, Groser also said the island nation had to up its game when dealing with Beijing, its largest export market, following a food safety scare in China concerning New Zealand dairy products.
"It is deeply improbable that any country will now join the TPP-12 as we seek to close the deal," Groser said in a speech in Auckland, referring to the possibility of Beijing joining the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks now underway.
"But the whole point of TPP was to act as a building block for an entire Asia-Pacific zone of trade and economic integration. That, by definition, could not happen without the eventual involvement of China, whether literally in TPP or some logical extension of it."
Talks have been underway for three years to establish a free-trade bloc that would extend from Vietnam to Chile to Japan. A deal involving the 12 nations would encompass 800 million people and around one-third of global trade.
New Zealand is one of few non-Asian countries that has a free trade agreement with China. Reuters