Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said yesterday that the country welcomes the interest in joining the trans-Pacific trade pact by any economy willing and able to meet the pact's high standards, following news that China is applying to become a member.
The MTI said the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will decide by consensus after discussing the matters on accession.
"The (CPTPP) is an open and inclusive agreement," said an MTI spokesman in a statement, in response to media queries.
"Singapore welcomes the interest of any economy that is willing and able to meet the high standards of the CPTPP, and to realise the vision of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
"The CPTPP parties will discuss the matters on accession and decide by consensus."
The spokesman added: "Singapore will take on the role of commission chair from next year and will closely consult members on CPTPP-related issues, including accession matters, during our chairmanship."
The CPTPP consists of 11 member states: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Besides China, Taiwan has also applied to join the trade pact.
China considers Taiwan a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
The United States on Friday praised Taiwan's record as a candidate to join the CPTPP and criticised Beijing for stepping up jet incursions near the island.
Japan, the largest economy in the CPTPP, has welcomed Taiwan's bid to join.