December 31 deadline fixed for exporters to submit applications for pending dues Synopsis For claiming pending refunds under merchandise exports from India Scheme (MEIS) exporters can submit applications for exports made in the period July 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 and from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 and from April 2020 to December 31, 2020. The last date for exporters to submit online applications to claim their pending dues under different export promotion schemes is December 31, the government said on Friday. To claim pending refunds under the erstwhile Merchandise Exports from India Scheme, exporters can submit applications for exports made during July 1, 2018- March 31, 2019, FY20 and April 1- December 31, 2020. Similarly, they can file applications under the Services Export from India Scheme for exports made during 2018-20. The development comes a week after the government announced to release Rs 56,027 crore against pending tax refunds of exporters under various export incentive schemes. As per a notification issued by the commerce and industry ministry, textile exporters can file applications for exports made during March 7, 2019 to December 31, 2020 under the Rebate of State and Central Levies and Taxes scheme. However, no further applications would be allowed to be submitted after December 31 and they would become timebarred. The validity period of duty credit scrips or certificates issued on or after September 16, 2021 shall be 12 months from the date of issue, according to the notification.
Source: Economic Times
Describing shortage of containers and the spiralling freight costs as an international phenomena in the post-pandemic times, Union industries minister Piyush Goyal claimed that the government has limited role in this role to play in the demanddriven market. “However, government departments concerned are closely monitoring the situation and issuing necessary instructions to departments. I held meetings with railway and shipping ministries and discussed the issues and are looking into how we can play a role in cooling down the prices. We are also trying to bring transparency,” the minister told TOI on Friday. “After the second Covid wave there was a sudden increase in our exports and international trade. Therefore, the demand in India for containers as well as ships have increased,” explained Goyal, who also claimed that exporters and various trade associations have flagged off the issue multiple times in the past six months. In another query on exemption of pharma and chemical industries from Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme, Goyal said, “Only two or three sectors have been requested to bear with us for a certain period and they have been exempted.” He expressed his happiness with the exporters on them being “so magnanimous that they have taken this gracefully” and that exports continue to rise. “India has never before exported 165 billion dollar between April to August. Our exporters are trying to meet the high targets,” he said. The minister further pointed out that many industries are being given significant support under the RoDTEP and Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) scheme as well. He said that the industry players have appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to reimburse indirect taxes. “Covid has been a trying time for all of us and there is a greater need to put our resources into healthcare infrastructure, providing vaccines to all eligible at scorching pace. All of these require resources and only a few sectors have been exempted for certain time,” Goyal added. The Union minister on a visit to the city on Friday participated in various events organised to mark the 71st birthday of PM Modi. After arriving in the city, Goyal attended a gift distribution ceremony for divyang children at the Disable Welfare Trust, and also examined a mega vaccination drive before he attended an interactive session with members of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Goyal also visited Surat Diamond Bourse, textile industries in Sachin and an exhibition on achievements of PM Modi.
Source: Times of India
Inverted duty on textiles and footwear will be corrected from January 1, 2022, India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference today. She was addressing the media after chairing the 45th meeting of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council in Lucknow. Currently, certain inputs are taxed at a higher rate than finished goods. “GST rate changes in order to correct inverted duty structure, in footwear and textiles sector, as was discussed in earlier GST Council Meeting and was deferred for an appropriate time, will be implemented with effect from 01.01.2022,” an official statement issued after the press conference said. Textiles and footwear businesses are unable to claim input-tax credit (ITC) because raw materials like yarn and fabric are taxed at a higher rate than the finished goods (clothing and apparel). The GST Council had discussed the issue of inverted duty structure in the past, but had not reached any conclusion, particularly last year, as reducing GST on raw material would result in loss of revenue. The main impact of inverted duty structure in on the working capital of the businesses. It is because the GST paid at higher rates on raw materials is blocked till the government releases refund. The GST Council held its physical meeting today after a gap of 16 months. The Council had last met physically on March 14, 2020 in New Delhi. The gross GST revenue collected in the month of August 2021 was ₹1,12,020 crore of which CGST was ₹20,522 crore, SGST was ₹26,605 crore, IGST was ₹56,247 crore (including ₹26,884 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess was ₹8,646 crore (including ₹646 crore collected on import of goods). The revenues for the month of August 2021 were 30 per cent higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year. During the month, the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 27 per cent higher than the revenues from these sources during the same month last year. Even as compared to the August revenues in 2019-20 of ₹98,202 crore, this is a growth of 14 per cent.
Source: Fibre2 Fashion
Synopsis Recently, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the two countries are moving towards an early harvest trade agreement, with a comprehensive FTA as the next step. The UK on Friday expressed hope that it will be able to soon complete the negotiations for the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India, a move aimed at further enhancing trade and investment ties between the two countries. "I can confidently predict that we will complete the India-UK FTA before we see an India-EU (European Union) FTA completed," UK Investment Minister Lord Gerry Grimstone said. Speaking at industry body CII's India-UK Annual Conference, he said there have been productive discussions on how the trade pact can act as a means to connect the two economies and to double bilateral trade over the next decade. India and the UK are aiming to start negotiations for the proposed bilateral FTA by November 1. Recently, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the two countries are moving towards an early harvest trade agreement, with a comprehensive FTA as the next step. In a FTA, two or more trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them besides liberalising norms to promote trade in services and investments. In an interim trade pact, customs duties are removed on a limited number of goods. The bilateral trade between the two nations stood at USD 13.11 billion in 2020-21 as against USD 15.45 billion in 2019-20. Trade balance is in favour of India, according to the data from the Indian commerce ministry. Grimstone also said that "our focus is on boosting investments, exports, addressing market access issues, removing trade barriers that are hindering growth and unleashing the potential for economic growth". India is working on creating a robust FTA with the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, High Commissioner of India to the UK, said. India is the second largest FDI contributor in the UK and 850 Indian companies contributed a net revenue of over GBP 50 billion.
Source: Economic Times
Union Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal has said that the biggest center for the Man Made Fiber industry – Surat will get maximum benefits from the recently announced PLI Scheme. He was interacting with media persons at Surat in Gujarat yesterday. He said that the scheme will generate employment opportunities & create Global Champions in the textile sector. Mr Goyal has also visited the famous diamond market of Surat and met the people of diamond industries. He said that the diamond market of Surat occupies a special place in the diamond business of the country. Mr. Goyal also inaugurated an exhibition on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Surat on the occasion of his birthday. The exhibition displays various incidents and aspects of Prime Minister Modi’s life through pictures. Union Minister of State for textile Darshan Jardosh remained present on this occasion.
Source: News on Air
India could attract more manufacturing companies, officials said, following the World Bank’s decision to discontinue its annual ‘Doing Business’ report due to data collection irregularities, especially from China. India could attract more manufacturing companies, officials said, following the World Bank’s decision to discontinue its annual ‘Doing Business’ report due to data collection irregularities, especially from China. India remains a preferred investment destination for the world since no data irregularities have been found, an official said, adding that the country continues to push for making it easier to do business with planned procedural easing.
Source: Economic Times
The Karnataka government has shown keen interest on mega textile parks in the state, Secretary in the Textiles ministry U P Singh said on Friday. "Karnataka is keen on a mega textile park in the state. We have not yet taken any decision on any of the proposals because the project is still in its infancy," Singh told reporters. He was here to interact with the representatives of textile industry to apprise them about the various incentives offered by the Centre to those planning to expand their business. According to Singh, seven mega textile parks have been planned in the country though locations have not yet been decided. According to him, the industries with Rs 600 crore turnover can avail 15 per cent incentive in the first year, which decreases year on year by one per cent for five years. Those with Rs 200 crore turnover can avail 11 per cent incentive every year, which decreases by one per cent each year for five years when the scheme ends. He added that the government has made a fund limit of Rs 10,683 crore for five years. The PLIS scheme is mainly for manmade fabric and not natural fibre such as cotton, silk, jute and wool. Replying to a query from reporters, the central textile secretary said at present 65 per cent of textiles in India is cotton while 35 per cent is manmade whereas abroad, the proportion is reverse. In developed countries 70 per cent is manmade fibre while 30 per cent is natural.
Source: Outlook India
Company recently alleged harassment by Kerala govt. agencies The Kitex Group of companies has said that it has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the Telangana government on Friday for investments in the industrial park in Hyderabad and the Warangal textiles park. A communication from the Kitex company, based at Kizhakkambalam near Kochi, said the two were “major projects”. More details of the projects are expected at an official announcement on Saturday. Kitex had recently alleged harassment by State government agencies that conducted serial inspections at the company’s factory sites. According to the communication, Telangana Principal Secretary (Industries) Jayesh Ranjan and Kitex Group managing director Sabu M. Jacob signed the MoUs in Hyderabad. The MoUs were signed after Mr. Jacob met Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao. The communication said the company was being offered a lot of incentives by the Telangana government for its investments. The Kitex group had withdrawn from its plans to invest about ₹3,500 crore in Kerala following serial inspections of its factory premises by different government departments over the last few months, it added.
Source: The Hindu
The PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline has yet again been extended by the Central Government. The deadline to link PAN with Aadhaar has been extended by six months to March 31, 2022 from the current deadline of September 30, 2021. In a statement, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said to address the hardship being faced by various stakeholders in view the coronavirus pandemic, the timeline has been extended which will ease compliance. "Time limit for intimation of Aadhaar number to the Income tax Department for linking of PAN with Aadhaar has been extended from 30th September, 2021 to 31st March, 2022," the CBDT said. Also, the due date for completion of penalty proceedings under the I-T Act has been extended from September 30, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Further, the time limit for issuance of notice and passing of order by the Adjudicating Authority under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 has been extended to March 2022.
Source : Mint
ISLAMABAD,:The exports of textile commodities surged by of 28.67 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of last year and surged by 45.19 percent on year-on-year basis (YoY). The textile exports were recorded at $2933.938 million in July-August (2021-22) against the exports of $2280.119 million in July-August (2020-21), showing growth of 28.67 percent, according to latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The textile commodities that contributed in trade growth included cotton yarn, the exports of which increased from $115.136 million last year to $193.389 million during the current year, showing growth of 67.97 percent. Likewise, the exports of yarn cotton cloth increased by 24.74 percent, from $294.724 million to $367.624 million whereas, exports of cotton (carded of combed) increased by 100 percent to 0.770 million.The exports of yearn (other than cotton yarn) increased by 123.73 percent, from $3.473 million to $7.770 million whereas the exports of knitwear went up by 34.12 percent, from $564.343 million to $756.883 million and bed wear by 24.50 percent, from $424.187 to $528.109 million.The exports of towels during the period under review increased by 20.67 percent, from $133.104 million to $160.612 million, readymade garments by 22.57 percent, from $477.216 million to $584.913 million, art, silk and synthetic textile by 34.08 percent, from $51.613 million to $69.202 million, made up articles (excluding towels and bed wear) by 21. 26 percent from $109.846 million to $133.194 million whereas exports of other textile materials increased by 37.44 million, form $86.743 million to $119.222 million.
The commodities that witnessed negative growth in trade included during the period under review included raw cotton, exports of which decreased by cent percent whereas the exports of tents, canvas and trapulin declined by 37.19 percent, from $19.504 million to $12.250 million.
Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the textile exports increased by 45.19 percent during the month of August 2021 as compared to the same month of last year. The exports during August 2021 were recorded at $1462.753 million against the exports of $1007.509 million during August 2020.
On month-on-month basis, the exports from the country however witnessed slight decrease of 0.57 percent during August 2021 when compared to the exports of $1471.185 million in July 2021.
It is pertinent to mention here that the exports from the country witnessed an increase of 27.59 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year (2021-22) as compared to the corresponding months of last year. According to PBS data, the exports from the country stood at $4.573 billion during July-August (2021-22), as against the exports of $3.584 billion recorded during July-August (2020-21), showing growth of 27.59 percent. The imports during the months under review also went up by 72.59 percent by growing from $6.990 billion last year to $12.064 billion in July-August (2021-22).
As Bangladesh struggles to keep its position as the second-largest apparel exporter of the world, the country is desperately in need of policy support to make a solid foothold on potential man-made fibre (MMF) in which its rival marches ahead. This apparel sub-sector holds the prospect of emerging as the gamechanger in global textile trade, as is evident from its growth, outmatching the traditional wear. Over the decade the world has seen a spectacular growth of the MMF sector in apparel trade, but, in Bangladesh, the contribution of MMF to the country's apparel basket is less than 30 per cent, far below the world average of 63 per cent. Industry experts say that if the country fails to boost the share of MMF in the trade cake, it may slip from its present ranking as one of the top apparel exporters. The share of cotton in fibre consumption was 41 per cent 10 years ago but now dwindled to 26 per cent whereas the share of MMF grew to 63 per cent. "There is no doubt that we have to enhance our share in MMF products, but we are not getting proper policy support," Mohammad Ali Khokon, President of Bangladesh Textiles Mills' Association (BTMA), told the FE. "We have urged the government to reduce VAT on the MMF from TK 6 to TK 3, but that was not materialised yet," he said, adding that VAT for the cotton yarn is TK 3. "On the other hand, setting up MMF factory is a huge cost-intensive issue and we sought duty waiver on import of capital machinery for the setting up of MMF factories. But the authorities concerned have not responded positively to our demand," Mr Khokon said. According to the BTMA president the textile mills have 13 million spindles of which only 15 per contribute to MMF products. Dr Mostafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), thinks that a string of measures can be taken by the government to boost the MMF sector. "There should be credit support from the various government funds, including Bangladesh Bank's export fund, as this is a capital-intensive sector. The government can also establish dedicated industrial park for this sector with infrastructure support," he said. "There should also be support for skills development as this is comparatively a new sector to us," he suggests. Vietnam, which is Bangladesh's main competitor, is "ahead of us in MMF sector", he reminded. Chairman of the Policy Research Institute Dr Zaidi Sattar thinks that luring foreign investment is crucial for enhancing the MMF sector. "Worldwide, the demand for MMF is growing, and it is a high-value-added product, so we need to take measures to strengthen this sector," he said. Global fibre consumption is growing, having risen to 108 million tonnes in 2019 from 100 million tonnes in 2016. The share of the synthetic fibres is 63 per cent, and according to an international survey by Lenzing the MMF market will see a steady growth at a rate of 3-4 per cent up to 2024. Experts say the global fibre consumption will rise to 140 million tonnes of which the share of MMF will be 108 million tonnes. Wood Mackenzie, an international industry-research firm, in 2018 said cotton contributes only 26 per cent of the total fibre consumption, whereas polyester as 56 per cent followed by polypropylene with 4.9 per cent, nylon 4.8 per cent, and acrylic 1.6 per cent. Industry-insiders say the growth of MMF results from rising demand for MMF-based apparel in fashion industry. "It is also cost-effective and easily recyclable, unlike cotton," a RMG buyer said. MMF has versatile use in end-use categories such as sportswear, leisurewear, women dresses, home textiles, automotives, carpets and other industrial sectors. All this makes it an ideal 'fibre of the future, he added. Bangladesh has established itself as a strong producer in the ready-made garment sector with more than 4,600 factories operating. In the spinning sector, around 430 mills are operating out of which only 27 are producing manmade yarn, in particular, polyester. The production facilities for other manmade fibres like polypropylene, nylon, acrylic etc have yet to be established in Bangladesh According to a report, in the year 2019, the global manmade-apparel trade stood at around $179 billion with Bangladesh holding roughly 5-percent market share, whereas its main rival, Vietnam, had a 10- percent share. The 27 factories producing manmade yarns in Bangladesh meet only 20 percent of the national demand. Foreign investors are, however, eager to set up MMF factories in Bangladesh sensing a huge untapped demand. Korean textile company Youngone has invested $65 million in 3 factories and announced its plan to invest another $120 million for another 2 MMF factories in the Korean EPZ, owned by the company. Talking to the FE, Chairman of the company Kihak Sung said Youngone already started manufacturing polyester fabrics in the two state-of-the-art factories, each having a 430,000-square-foot floor space. "Both factories will be expanded soon," he added. Industry analysts suggest that incentives in producing MMF can also lure huge FDI into the country as Bangladesh has a strong forward linkage in the apparel sector.
Source: The Financial Express
Local textile mills do not see the possibility of supplying yarn at existing capacity in line with the additional export orders of Terry Towel, one of the major export items of Home Textiles. It is necessary to increase the investment in this sector by supplying yarn according to the demand for this sector, which may take one to two more years. As a result, the people involved in the sector are looking for a solution to the problem of import yarn, said the concerned people in a meeting of textile mill owners with Terry Towel exporters held on Thursday. This information has been known from the relevant sources present at the meeting. The meeting started in the evening and ended at 8 pm. Apart from Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) president Mohammad Ali Khokon and Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) chairman Shahadat Hossain Sohel, senior leaders of both the organizations were also present at the meeting. After the meeting, Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) Chairman Shahadat Hossain Sohel told Business Standard on Thursday night that the local textile mills were not able to meet the demand for yarn. Therefore, they will increase new investment. As a result, there is no alternative to import for solving the problem. And the free market economy does not solve the problem by fixing prices. "As a result, we will seek the cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce to facilitate imports." Fazlul Hoque, vice-president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), who was present at the meeting, told Business Standard that "they (Terry Towel) have received many orders. We are not able to supply yarn according to their needs, true. If they need any cooperation in this case, we will tell the government about it." However, another leader present at the meeting said it was also difficult for exporters to import yarn. Because, 75 percent of their members do not have a bond license. As a result, they will not be able to import yarn with duty free facility. In that case the imported goods may have to be redeemed with a bank guarantee. Terry Towel products mainly use 10 and 16 count yarns, which are mainly produced from wastage cotton. With the increase in export orders, the quality of these two types of yarn is increasing and the textile mills are supplying denim to the exporters.
Source: TBS News
Sri Lanka's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the manufacturing and service sectors declined in August, local media citing a report from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) reported on Friday. Sri Lanka's manufacturing PMI declined 12.7 index points, from 57.8 in July to 45.1 in August. The CBSL said this was driven by a decrease in sub-indices of new orders, production, employment, and stock of purchases. "The decline in new orders and production, especially in the manufacture of food and beverages, furniture, and textiles and wearing apparel sectors, have mainly contributed to the overall decrease of the manufacturing PMI," the CBSL said in a report. "Further, many of them also emphasized that factory operations were disrupted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus among employees. Employment sub-index also declined in line with these developments," the report added. Meanwhile, the country's services PMI dropped 9.5 index points, from 55.7 in July to 46.2 in August, largely due to restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Sri Lanka announced a nationwide lockdown on Aug. 20 that is scheduled to end on Sept. 21 in response to the rising COVID-19 cases.
The visit of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Cuba will strengthen bilateral trade exchanges and favor Vietnamese investments in the island, officials of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said today. Specialists of the Department of European-American Market of that portfolio highlighted that the historic friendly relations between the two nations are a solid base to boost cooperation in several areas, one of the objectives of the head of state's trip to Havana. The existence of long-standing and proven efficient mechanisms, such as the VietnamCuba Intergovernmental Commission and other legal frameworks, will be taken advantage of by the parties to relaunch their multifaceted ties, they noted. They recalled that in November 2018, on the occasion of a visit here by President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the two countries signed a trade agreement that came into force in April 2020. Backed by a commitment to reduce tariffs on imports by almost 100 percent for a fiveyear term, the treaty set a common aspiration to raise mutual buying and selling operations to $500 million by 2025 (almost double that of 2019). According to the portfolio, the trade balance is considerably favorable to Vietnam. Its exports amounted to US$51.4 million and consisted mostly of rice, coffee, chemicals, textiles, textiles, footwear, computers and their components, and construction materials. According to experts, Cuba, with about 11.2 million inhabitants, is a potential market for Vietnamese exporters, given the high demand in several branches and the modest development of its manufacturing industries. Cuban Ambassador in Hanoi, Nicolas Hernandez Guillen, and Vietnamese Ambassador in Havana, Le Thanh Tung, agreed that Xuan Phuc's visit to the Caribbean nation will be an excellent opportunity to boost bilateral ties.
Source: Pleng Lish
Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy, Jauhar Saleem on Friday said that Italian investors and various companies were ready to invest in different sectors of the country’s economy, which would further strengthen economic ties between the two countries. Saleem mentioned while talking to the media that Italian companies new to the Pakistani market are now investing in different sectors such as food, steel, leather, textile, tourism, Information Technology (IT), electric vehicles and allied equipment. The ambassador appreciated the role of the Italian government, embassy and private sector companies in providing technical assistance and technology transfer, especially in the leather and textile sectors which are of prime importance for Pakistan’s economy, particularly in terms of export capacity. While talking about bilateral investment cooperation,Saleem stated that previously Italian investment in Pakistan was highly concentrated in the hydrocarbon market. He said the embassy was endeavouring to help build a more diversified investment portfolio from Italy and has pitched Pakistan’s priority sectors for investment so that Pak Italy bilateral investment portfolio could experience sustainable growth. He highlighted some of the main factors that are fueling the unprecedented growth streak in remittances in the last 4 quarters. He named the user-friendly financial products of State Bank of Pakistan like Roshan Digital Account (RDA), restrictions on cross border travel due to the pandemic, favourable exchange rate, legalization of undocumented Pakistani workers in Italy, Pakistan’s inclusion in seasonal work visa program in Italy and ‘Remittances Promotion Drive of the Pakistan Embassy in Italy’ as some of the leading factors that are helping remittances growth to record heights. He informed that the major indicators of bilateral economic relations namely trade cooperation and workers’ remittances are reflecting extraordinary growth. Pakistani workers’ remittances from Italy increased by a staggering 92 per cent in August 2021 as against August 2020, making Italy the largest contributor in remittances from the European Union, he said. Keeping in view the growing trend of the last 12 months, Italy could be expected to join the so-called Billion Dollar Club for remittances for Pakistan which could help address the current account gap being faced by Pakistan. He shared that Pakistan has been included in Italy’s Seasonal Work Visa Programme for 2022 as well which would help our semi-skilled workers to come through legal channels and work in the agriculture and services sectors of the Italian market. As for Pakistan’s exports to Italy that have registered 64 per cent growth in August 2021 year on year, he mentioned that the export growth was mainly led by value-added sectors like garments, leather products, home textiles and footwear, he said. The ambassador said that Italy was Pakistan’s 8th largest export market where Pakistan is the market leader in some products such as rice. Pakistan’s share in Basmati supply to the Italian market has risen to 82pc whereas India supplies only 12 per cent. Despite the false Indian claim over exclusive rights for Basmati in the EU market, Pakistan is the largest exporter of Basmati not only to Italy but the entire European Union. The Ambassador noted that Pakistan’s exports to Italy reached an all-time high of $786 million during the FY 2020-21 and this year they are endeavouring to have an even better growth figure. He added, “Despite the pandemic related restriction, the Embassy was extending all possible support to our businesses to facilitate their access to the Italian market.” Saleem informed that a delegation of around 40 Pakistani businessmen from the leather sector will be visiting Italy next week where besides participating in an internationally acclaimed trade fair they will have meetings with Italian buyers, investors and visit some state of the art leather manufacturing facilities.
Source: Pakistan Today
Chinese commerce minister Wang Wentao recently submitted an application to New Zealand's trade minister Damien O'Connor to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the former’s commerce ministry said. Current CPTPP chair Japan said it will consult members to respond to China's request, offering no timeline. As the depositary for the CPTPP, the New Zealand government handles various administrative tasks for the pact. Wang and O'Connor held a telephone conference to discuss the next steps following China's application, the Chinese ministry said. "Japan believes that it's necessary to determine whether China, which submitted a request to join the TPP-11, is ready to meet its extremely high standards," Japanese economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura was quoted by a global newswire as telling journalists. The CPTPP was signed by 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand in 2018. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact in 2017. The United Kingdom began negotiations in June this year to enter the trade pact, while Thailand has also indicated its interest in joining. Beijing has lobbied for its inclusion in the pact, including by highlighting that the Chinese and Australian economies have enormous potential for cooperation. However, relations between the two countries have soured. Domestic reforms within China are a precondition to qualify as policies like subsidies to state-owned enterprises that distort competition are forbidden by the CPTPP. As China has been strengthening the state sector, negotiations to join may reportedly enter a stalemate from the beginnning.