China wants to boost trade with US allies, no mention of US deal

Beijing will promote growth of ‘mutually beneficial’ China-US business relations, Premier Li says in annual parliament.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says China plans to accelerate free-trade negotiations with Japan and South Korea, both of which rely on the US for defence [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

China may join an Asia-Pacific trade pact comprised of key U.S. allies that former President Donald Trump exited, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday.

In his work report to the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Li said Beijing “will actively consider joining” the 11-nation agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It includes nations that China has sparred with recently such as Australia, Canada and Japan.

The premier added that China would accelerate free-trade negotiations with Japan and South Korea, both of which rely on the U.S. for defense, and quickly implement an investment pact reached with the European Union in December.

“China stands ready to work with other countries to achieve mutual benefits on the basis of greater mutual opening,” he said.

The annual report made no reference to the phase-one trade deal with the U.S., only saying China “will promote the growth of mutually beneficial China-U.S. business relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

Trump withdrew the U.S. from talks on the trade pact, then known as the TPP, shortly after he took office in January 2021. President Joe Biden’s administration is now seeking to rally what officials are calling “techno-democracies” to stand up to China and other “techno-autocracies.”

Source: Bloomberg

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