China has applied to become an associate member of the Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), the organisation that aims to influence international cooperation on cross-border rail activities.

The OTIF said it had been cooperating with China for several years before this step, and after the Chinese National Railway Administration initiated contact in 2016.
Associate membership would allow the Chinese national rail provider with advisory access to the majority of OTIF activities, except from the Administrative Committee.

The organisation said the application would be accepted unless five of the 50 current full member states object. Otherwise, the membership will become active in June 2024.

China would become only the second associate member, along with Jordan, which was granted access in 2010.

The body was set up in 1985 with the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail. COTIF enables legal interoperability to be extended and technical interoperability to be improved and contributes to the development of multimodal transport, according to its text.

OTIF lobbies on behalf of both passenger and freight operators.