Will China actually join Obama’s trade deal?
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President Obama says China is “putting out feelers” about joining the big trade deal that’s under negotiation, which will liberalize trade rules for 12 countries around the Pacific, including the U.S., Mexico, Japan — and maybe China.
So what’s it going to take the economic powerhouse to actually be part of this agreement?
“I think it’s a question of how open the Obama administration is to giving China enough time to get up to speed on the requirements of this agreement,” says Marketplace’s China correspondent Rob Schmitz. “China’s got the biggest labor force in the world. It’s the second-largest economy, so it’s going to want to play just as big a role as the U.S. in this agreement if it signs on.”
Schmitz says that a Trans-Pacific free trade deal without China looks, frankly, kind of weak. The East Asian country has been making trade deals with countries on its own continent—and has been trying to “[strengthen] its economic ties” with various South American and European countries.
“So China’s moving on from the familiar trope of ‘the rest of the world is trying to contain us,'” Schmitz says.
Click the audio player above to hear the full interview about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and China’s potential role in the deal.