Mon, Aug 20, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Laws being changed to aid trade partnership bid

POINTS OF CONCERN:The Executive Yuan is optimistic that the proposed changes can be passed this year, boosting the nation’s odds of joining the CPTPP next year

By Lee Hsin-fang and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The government is working to amend laws it says will facilitate membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) amid obstruction from China in its bid to join the trade pact.

China has asked member countries to reject Taiwan’s bid, despite it not being a member itself, but the Executive Yuan has said the nation’s own efforts will determine the outcome of its application.

The Executive Yuan has prioritized the amendment of five laws it says are points of concern for the 11 CPTPP members and has been meeting privately with officials from those nations, including Japan, to garner support, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) has identified regulations that should be amended in the Trademark Act (商標法), the Patent Act (專利法), the Copyright Act (著作權法) and the Postal Act (郵政法), and the government is reviewing a draft act on digital communications and broadcasts, Deng said, adding that the government hopes that the amendments will be passed by the end of the year.

The Executive Yuan is optimistic that the proposed changes can be passed before the second round of membership negotiations, giving the nation a chance to join the pact next year.

Taiwan had initially hoped to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — which evolved into the CPTPP following the withdrawal of the US — and at the time identified 12 legal amendments that would be necessary, Deng said, adding that seven of those amendments have already been passed.

The US withdrew from the TPP in January last year and the remaining 11 members revived the deal as the CPTPP in January. So far, three of the member countries — Mexico, Japan and Singapore — have ratified the agreement.

US President Donald Trump has said the US would rejoin if the agreement offered a “substantially better deal” for the US.

Joining the agreement is important to expand Taiwan’s market access and put the nation on track with international economies, Deng said, adding that membership would also attract foreign investment.

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