China has cautiously welcomed a free trade deal struck between 12 Pacific Rim countries, the biggest in decades.
The US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) cuts trade tariffs and sets common standards in member countries including Japan and the US.
China said it was “open to any mechanism” that follows World Trade Organization rules.
But it did not indicate it would join the TPP, which still needs to be ratified by lawmakers in each country.
China, which was not part of the negotiations, has announced its own rival trade agreement.
The TPP, which covers about 40% of the world economy, was struck on Monday after five days of talks in Atlanta in the US.
Those talks were the culmination of five years of negotiations between member countries led by the US. The deal is seen by some as a counter balance to China’s growing economic influence in the Asia Pacific region.
China’s Ministry of Commerce called the TPP “one of the key free trade agreements for the Asia-Pacific region”, according to a statement on Xinhua state news agency website.
“China hopes the TPP pact and other free trade arrangements in the region can boost each other and contribute to the Asia-Pacific’s trade, investment and economic growth,” it said.
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