President Obama said China had been “putting out feelers” to join a pending trade pact with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Obama has often used China as a sticking point in his sales pitches for the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership over the past several months. China is not one of the 11 countries involved and Obama has often said the deal itself is necessary to keep China, which has the world’s second largest economy, from writing the rules on trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
But on Wednesday, he hinted that the country may be interested in joining the deal in response to a question posed by Kai Ryssdal, the host of American Public Media’s Marketplace podcast.
“They’ve already started putting out feelers about the possibilities of them participating at some point,” he said, adding vaguely that China had reached out to “us, to Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary.” Later on Wednesday, Obama is scheduled to meet with the Treasury Secretary in a closed-door meeting at the White House.