Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

TPP not start of an 'economic Cold War'

By Chu Yin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-10 09:12

The TPP may also provide a broader platform and greater opportunities for the expansion of the more competitive Chinese enterprises, expediting their pace in becoming top international companies.

There are already some competitive private enterprises in China that started their internationalization about 10 years ago. And Chinese enterprises such as Lenovo and Huawei had been deeply engaged in localizing their investments in other countries and regions since four or five years ago.

Moreover, the TPP is not a simply like-minded anti-China community. An ideological confrontation gave birth to the Cold War in the latter half of the last century. Today, despite relations between China and the US being very delicate in recent years, the overall development trend of the bilateral relationship remains stable and progressive, especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US in September.

As long as Sino-US relations remain stable, an "economic Cold War" will be an exaggerated conjecture. Most of the 12 countries have joined the TPP for economic reasons, rather than the ideological containment of China. A so-called value alliance against China is only wishful thinking.

Within the TPP, the co-existence of varied political systems in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Chile and Mexico means their shared common values are limited. The members are participating in the TPP in a bid to obtain benefits from the US' economic strategies, or seeking to maximize their own interests in the balance between China and the US.

It is noteworthy that eight out of the 12 countries in TPP have signed free trade agreements with China, among which New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia are enjoying the best relations with China in their respective history. Singapore and China, meanwhile, are each the largest investor in the other. It does take a very strong imagination to conceive that the TPP members will unite together to wage an economic Cold War against China.

China is no longer an exporter that relies mainly on its advantage based on low cost of labor. It is evolving into a super-large market fueled by domestic demand. The absorption effect that is gradually forming in this process is not something the TPP can easily obstruct.

In this process, no power can really contain China, except China itself, should it adopt a Cold War-based closed-door mindset. As long as China can develop its free trade zones at home and free trade areas abroad, implement its Belt and Road strategies, and constantly deepen its reform and opening-up, it will successfully transform its economy and respond well to the challenges from home and abroad.

The author is a researcher of international politics with the University of International Relations in Beijing. The article was first published in Beijing News on Oct 8.

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