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China applies to join digital trade pact with Singapore and NZ

Beijing's intentions toward the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement unclear

Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised observers by announcing on Sunday that his country would seek to join DEPA. 

HONG KONG -- China's unexpected move on Monday to apply to join a fledging global digital trade pact even as the country tightens up cross-border data flows has raised questions about its intentions.

Monday's move followed Chinese President Xi Jinping's announcement of Beijing's intention to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) as part of his video address a day earlier to the Group of 20 leaders' summit in Rome.

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