China has applied to join a major Asia-Pacific trade partnership that the United States ditched several years ago, as the world's second largest economy tries to bolster its relationships in the region.
Why would China join the Asia-Pacific trade partnership if it would undermine China's control over its industries and prevent China from engaging in illegal government subsidies, force China to implement tougher measures against intellectual property theft, and would make China vulnerable to legal actions taken by foreign companies?
The original TPP was thought by some to likely bring China's neighbours closer to the United States and reduce their dependence on Chinese trade. If ratified, the TPP would have strengthened American influence on future rules for the global economy. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter claimed the passage of the TPP to be as valuable to the United States as the creation of another aircraft carrier. President Obama has argued "if we don't pass this agreement—if America doesn't write those rules—then countries like China will". According to the Congressional Research Service, "many Asian policymakers—correctly or not—could interpret a failure of TPP in the United States as a symbol of declining U.S. interest in the region and inability to assert leadership... failure to conclude TPP could, in effect, allow China to shape regional rules of commerce and diplomacy through its own trade and investment initiatives, potentially creating regional rules and norms less beneficial for U.S. interests."
The TPP seems to have been created to undermine China, so I am actually wondering why China would join the TPP instead of creating an alternate organization where China would have a lot more say and the rules wouldn't be as stringent against China and would be much more in line with China's current practices.