China-Australia relations: Canberra needs to ‘sit down’ with Beijing over CPTPP, trade minister Dan Tehan says
- China formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in September
- Australia is currently suing China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over tariffs on barley and wine amid ongoing tensions between Canberra and Beijing
Australia will need to be able to conduct ministerial discussions with China as part of a process for the world’s second-largest economy to join a regional trade agreement, trade minister Dan Tehan said.
“You have to able to sit down and work through specially on market access issues,” Tehan told Bloomberg Television from Singapore on Wednesday.
“So we would need some sort of ministerial dialogue to be able to work through that market accession.”
In response, China imposed punitive trade actions targeting Australian commodities from coal to barley, lobsters and wine.
While Tehan plans to meet his counterparts from other countries this week at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, including US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, a formal dialogue with China is not mentioned in his publicised agenda.
CPTPP could become game changer and supplant 'out-of-date' WTO, after mainland China, Taiwan apply
Tehan said he has not had discussions with Taiwan since it formally applied to join the agreement in September.
“Like any accession the same rules will apply to whatever economy, whatever country wants to join the CPTPP,” Tehan said of Taiwan.
Separately, Tehan said that Australia is “making progress” on a free trade deal with India. Preliminary discussions are likely in the next couple of weeks and the first round of negotiations expected early next year, he said.