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Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

TPP not start of an 'economic Cold War'

By Chu Yin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-10 09:12

TPP not start of an 'economic Cold War'

Trade ministers of the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries attend a press conference after negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in Atlanta, the United States, on Oct. 5, 2015. Trade ministers of the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries "have successfully concluded" the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Monday. [Photo/Xinhua]

The heated discussion in China about whether the country should seek to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership indicates people's uncertainty about the prospects for China's rise and economic transformation.

How Chinese people see the interaction and competition between China and other countries is likely to have a deep influence on China's future development.

The TPP as it is, if it comes into effect, already constitutes a practical threat to China's influence and position in the promotion of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

However, there are some favorable elements in the TPP that China can make good use of.

After the agreement was signed, China's economic influence has become an "internal" factor for the 12 signatory countries of the TPP. But the people thinking it will start an "economic Cold War" are actually assigning to the TPP a "mission impossible".

To begin with, although the TPP reflects the United States' strategic intention of returning to Asia, it is still a framework for regional economic integration. The direction of free trade it represents is in line with the needs of China's development and rise.

As a high-standard comprehensive free trade agreement, the TPP does pose some challenges to the lagging-behind sectors of the Chinese economy, but the challenges are also opportunities for the advanced parts of the Chinese economy.

Although it will take time for China to reach the standards of the TPP in some aspects, such as its State-owned enterprises, labor standards and government procurement, and in some regions in China, there is the possibility and space for the local industries to make progress and meet the standards of the TPP.

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