China to study possibility of joining U.S-led trade talks

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will study the possibility of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday, signaling its openness to the United States (US)-led trade pact.

"We will analyse the pros and cons as well as the possibility of joining the TPP, based on careful research and according to principles of equality and mutual benefit," Mr Shen Danyang, a Commerce Ministry spokesman, said in a comments published on the ministry's website.

"And we also hope to exchange information and materials with TPP members on the negotiations."

Mr Shen said China, which has attached importance to the TPP talks, has been soliciting the opinions of various government departments and industries on the trade pact.

In April, the US and countries already involved in the TPP talks formally approved Japan's entry into the negotiations at a meeting of regional trade ministers in Indonesia.

Japan will join 11 nations already in talks on the TPP: the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand. Members hope to reach a deal by the end of this year.

Japan's addition would boost the proposed agreement to one covering nearly 40 per cent of world economic output.

The TPP talks are officially slated to conclude this year, although many trade experts expect them to stretch into 2014.