China’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an opportunity for Australia to use its “external leverage” to further domestic reforms in Beijing, says Australian National University’s Shiro Armstrong.

“This is a significant bid by the Chinese, putting their hands up to sign up to more rules as part of the rules-based order but I think it’s an opportunity for Australia, really, to use leverage here,” he told Sky News Australia.

“This is an opportunity, I think, to engage with the Chinese in a broader process, a multilateral process, that really diffuses their political and economic leverage.

“The Chinese reformers used these agreements like the WTO and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as external pressure for domestic reform so there’s a track record of this in China and it’s actually very good.

“Where we can use external leverage, and we have this leverage, to further their own reform agenda, including on labour standards, on industrial subsidies that distort international competition, environmental standards and these are the things we want the Chinese economy to do.”

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