China said Tuesday it has an "open attitude" toward a U.S.-led free trade deal agreed upon by 12 Pacific-rim nations, reiterating its stance that Beijing would be open to joining the deal.
China's commerce ministry made the remarks shortly after the U.S. and 11 other nations reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that covers about 40 percent of the global economy.
The deal is the centerpiece of U.S. President Barack Obama's economic diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region, while China is trying to increase its economic influence in the same region.
In a brief statement, the Chinese ministry said Beijing "holds an open attitude" toward the TPP and "hopes the agreement and other free trade agreements in the region will promote each other and they can jointly contribute to trade, investment and economic development in the region."
The TPP is aimed at encouraging trade among the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
South Korea has indicated that it may eventually jump on board.
Obama welcomed the TPP, saying, "When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can't let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment." (Yonhap)