US Sees Hurdles
in China Joining Pacific Trade Pact
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US Sees Hurdles in China Joining Pacific Trade Pact
January 23, 2014
Washington wants progress on an investment treaty with Beijing
before it considers expanding an eventual Pacific-region trade pact
to include China, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the United States was
open to other countries joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
being negotiated by Washington and 11 other nations.
However, before China can be considered, Washington wants movement
on a bilateral investment treaty.
“We'll want to see whether we can make progress there first,” Froman
said during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Beijing said in May it would consider joining the TPP, which would
establish a free-trade bloc stretching from Vietnam to Chile and
Japan, encompassing about 800 million people and almost 40 percent
of the global economy.
Other countries, including South Korea, have also expressed interest
in joining, although Washington has said they would have to wait
until the current negotiators reach a deal.
Washington had hoped for a deal by the end of 2013, but that did not
happen in part because of differences over farm tariffs between the
United States and Japan.
The countries already in the talks are the United States, Canada,
Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam,
Chile, Mexico and Peru.
The United States and China agreed in July to restart stalled
negotiations on an investment treaty, with Beijing dropping efforts
to protect some sectors of its economy.
Froman said the renewed talks with Beijing would be part of a larger
“That's where I think our focus should be because those are key
elements of any investment chapter,” he added.