Philippines shows interest in joining CPTPP hinh anh 1Inside an electronics factory in the Philippines (Photo: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippines has formally expressed interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), with the goal of building new relationships with countries outside its existing bilateral free trade agreements.

Ramon Lopez, secretary of trade and industry, sent a signed letter of intent to New Zealand, the depositary nation of the CPTPP, Nikkei Asia reported.

The newspaper said Lopez asked about the process of joining the CPTPP as well as how it operates.

It quoted Ceferino Rodolfo, an undersecretary as saying that it would be critical for the Philippines to engage the CPTPP members that are currently not part or not a partner of the Philippines in FTA, which are Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

Nikkei Asia said diversified trade ties could allow the Philippines to be less dependent on China amid simmering tensions caused by territorial disputes. China is among the country's top export markets and is its largest trading partner overall.

The original 12 countries participating in CPTPP talks, including the US, held a summit in Manila in 2015. Then Philippine President Benigno Aquino had expressed an intention to join the TPP, but the country never did.

The UK has formally applied to join the CPTPP. Other nations, such as China and Thailand, have also expressed interest./.