China has formally applied to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If approved, it will bring the TPP membership to its full 16 members. The formal application will be made at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea next week.
Although the TPP lacks U.S. participation, it is considered an important model for trade and commerce by other countries. China has said it is seeking to join the TPP and wants to be able to attract a larger number of investors. If China joined the TPP, it would only add to the pressure on the United States to meet its obligations under the World Trade Organization. That will only make it harder for the U.S. government to renegotiate NAFTA and trade deals with other countries, which Trump recently threatened to do.
On Wednesday, the White House announced that it would reopen its framework negotiations with Mexico and Canada, which had collapsed in March. That announcement took Mexico and Canada’s leaders by surprise, since they had already signed the original NAFTA. The deal expires in just five months.
But the prospect of further trade disputes loomed over Thursday’s meeting of the G-7 leaders in Quebec, Canada. Trump has accused the other leaders of not honoring the original NAFTA. While the other leaders of the group, which includes the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan, talked about an increase in investment in the Atlantic region, U.S. President Donald Trump left the summit before it ended to push for continued trade war tariffs on car imports.
On Thursday, however, all leaders reiterated their willingness to push forward in trade discussions.