Joining trade blocs will boost exports, official says

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Apr 20, 2013 - Page 14

Taiwan’s exports would increase by about US$10.6 billion per year if it were to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional free-trade agreement being negotiated among 11 countries, a Bureau of Foreign Trade official said yesterday.

Tai Wan-jung (戴婉蓉), a division chief at the bureau, added that the industrial sector would be the largest beneficiary if Taiwan became a TPP member.

Sub-sectors such as textiles, chemicals and plastics, rubber products, ready-to-wear garments, leather, metal products, and automobile parts and components are expected to see a surge in their exports, she said during a conference on the challenges and opportunities presented by the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to Taiwan’s service sector.

The RCEP comprises all the members of ASEAN and six other countries with which ASEAN has free-trade agreements — China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Tai said that in 2011, global GDP reached US$6,966 trillion, of which more than 30 percent came from the TPP and RCEP blocs.

Meanwhile, 24.4 percent of Taiwan’s total foreign trade last year was contributed by 11 members of the TPP — the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, Tai said, citing data compiled by the US International Trade Commission.

“Joining the TPP and RCEP are very important to Taiwan,” Tai said, adding that the government is making efforts to collect all relevant data on the bids, which will also help the country in its pursuit of mutual free-trade relationships with other countries in the region.