China and CPTPP

Author Name WATANABE Mariko (Gakushuin University) / KAWASHIMA Fujio (Kobe University) / KAMO Tomoki (Keio University) / KAWASE Tsuyoshi (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. September 2021 21-P-016
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt.V)
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Revised on September 11, 2021 and replaced on September 15, 2021.


This paper conducts an analysis on the policy documents issued by China regarding the entry to Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, hereafter). The Chinese governments expressed their interest toward entry in 2020. Analysis of the documents revealed their political purpose and expected actions towards achieving their goals.

In 2020, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively referred to their intention to start talks on the entry to CPTPP. This paper examines the following points: (1) their basic attitude toward the arena of international rule making, (2) China's general attitude towards the WTO, (3) their policy they called Legal Work on Foreign Issues, (4) individual rules in chapters on SOE, Labor and E-Commerce of the TPP framework and applicability of China, (5) impacts of the U.S. and UK actions towards CPTPP on China's stance.

We found that China is taking actions toward achieving their policy of Legal Work on Foreign Issues which consist of (1) enhancing their "institutional discourse power" through international rule making, and (2) legislation against extraterritorial application by foreign entities from 2021 to 2025. It is highly likely that they regard the entry to CPTPP as an important step in building their institutional discourse power, whose concrete goal is the building of an FTAAP (Free Trade Agreement of Asia-Pacific), beginning with entry into CPTPP in addition to RCEP.