|In a bid to increase its economic clout in the Pacific, China filed an application (SCMP) to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). U.S. President Barack Obama had originally promoted the pact as a way to counter China, but President Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2017.
Tensions between China and CPTPP member Australia have risen in recent months, and the pact requires unanimous consent to join. It has stricter requirements (FT) than another Asia-Pacific trade pact signed last year, and Canberra and Tokyo stressed these requirements (Kyodo) after the news of Beijing’s application. The United Kingdom (UK) applied to join the pact in February.