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China Global Podcast:

China’s Prospects for Joining CPTPP

November 09, 2021

After the Trump administration pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017, the trade agreement’s future was uncertain. Fortunately, Japan grabbed the baton and took it across the finish line in a slightly revised form and renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The agreement was signed in 2018 by the remaining 11 countries in the Indo-Pacific and the Americas, accounting for 13 percent of world GDP. The CPTPP’s high degree of market access—alongside other digital, labor, and environmental provisions—has earned it the reputation as “one of the broadest and most state-of-the-art trade agreements ever signed.”

On September 16, 2021, China formally applied to join the CPTPP after nearly a year of hinting at its interest in membership. Observers still have many questions about its eligibility to meet the CPTPP’s high standards and there is an ongoing debate about whether and under what terms it should be included. Many also wonder when—or even if—the United States will consider rejoining the agreement.

Bonnie Glaser speaks with Wendy Cutler about China’s bid to join the CPTPP. Wendy Cutler is vice president and managing director of the Washington D.C. office at the Asia Society Policy Institute. Wendy previously worked at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for nearly three decades, most recently serving as the acting deputy U.S. trade representative.