HK Gov’t in wait-and-see mode on joining TPP

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The HK government responded to questions on the potential of joining the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) with a definite…maybe.

Screenshots taken from LegCo Youtube channel.

The Hong Kong government didn’t rule out joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal many, including American President Barack Obama, have claimed has been crafted to counter China’s influence in global trade and the region.

ADPL legislator Frederick Fung asked the administration whether they were considering Hong Kong’s accession to TPP, and whether Beijing played a role in their deliberations at the LegCo meeting today.

The response from Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Gregory So, indicated that the government was in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode to examine details of the agreement when it comes out. He did not rule out joining the agreement but suggested other trade agreements were of higher priority, including CEPA, TISA and the FTA with ASEAN.

“We maintain an open mind towards joining the TPP.” – Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

Mr So skirted the question regarding Beijing’s involvement, merely stating that Hong Kong has had continuous dialogue with its trading partners, adding that, to his understanding, the Mainland maintains an open attitude towards any arrangements consistent with the rules of the WTO.

Come play by my rules

In April, our Editor-in-Chief explained why Hong Kong should chase TPP and not AIIB.

American politicians have sent mixed signals to China on the issue, ranging from today’s suggestion by Secretary of State Vice President John Kerry that the US would welcome China and Russia’s participation in the deal  – with conditions.

We invite China, we invite Russia, we invite other countries that would like to join, if they agree to raise standards,” the US politician said according to Sputnik News.

However, President Obama has defended the deal in the US by explaining how it would counter Chinese influence.

“Without this agreement, competitors that don’t share our values, like China, will write the rules of the global economy,” Obama said.