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Canada shrugs at China’s application to join Pacific Rim trade agreement

Canada says China will only be permitted entry into the CPTPP if it meets the “high standard” required
Michael Kovrig, centre, embraces his wife Vina Nadjibulla, left, and sister Ariana Botha after arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Two Canadians who were imprisoned in China for nearly three years are home. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Canada is giving China the cold shoulder over its interest in joining an 11-country Pacific Rim trading bloc that is viewed as an important gateway to diversifying Canadian trade with other Asian countries.

A spokesman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng says Canada is aware of China’s desire to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership but has yet to have any discussion with the People’s Republic about that.

Chris Zhou says China will only be permitted entry into the CPTPP if it meets the “high standard” required by member countries.

Canada’s language on China’s potential ascension to the pact mirrors the stance taken by Japan’s new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, after he was sworn into power on Monday.

Trade analysts say Canada should vocally oppose China’s entry to the trade pact that also includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

They say the safe return to Canada of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor gives the federal government more leeway to vocally oppose China joining the pact.

—The Canadian Press

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