Mon, Dec 31, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ministry to lobby for trade bloc support

CPTPP GOAL:Minister Without Portfolio John Deng said that when application procedures are made apparent, the government would apply to join the CPTPP

By Lu Yi-hsuan  /  Staff reporter

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, center in red, and trade officials pose for a photograph before signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago, Chile, on March 8.

Photo: EPA-EFE

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pledged to continue to lobby for support regarding Taiwan’s participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into effect yesterday.

The ministry congratulated CPTPP members in a statement, calling it an “important achievement” that was especially significant to the economic development of Asia-Pacific and the world.

The ministry also urged CPTPP nations to accept new members, including Taiwan, soon.

Taiwan’s participation would enhance the partnership and the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region, the ministry said.

“The ministry will continue to show CPTPP members the nation’s determination ... and promote its participation when the timing is appropriate,” it said.

Separately yesterday, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said that the government would apply to join the partnership near the end of next month, once the application procedures for new members become clearer.

Application procedures would likely be made apparent after the CPTPP nations hold a minister-level meeting in late January, said Deng, who doubles as head of the Executive Yuan’s Office of Trade Negotiations.

Joining the partnership is an important goal for Taiwan’s foreign policy, he added.

Following the passage of a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-initiated referendum on Nov. 24 to ban food imports from five prefectures following the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono last month said that Tokyo did not rule out taking the issue to the WTO.

He also suggested that it would make Taiwan’s chances of joining the CPTPP — which is led by Japan — unlikely.

In response, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said he hoped that Taiwan’s participation would not be affected by a single issue.

The CPTPP, which replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the US withdrew from the deal, was signed in March, and the agreement yesterday came into force for the initial six ratifying countries — Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore.

The free-trade agreement represents a market of about 500 million people and accounts for 13.5 percent of global trade.

The CPTPP’s 11 members account for 25 percent of Taiwan’s total foreign trade, with Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam among the nation’s top 10 trading partners, while the 11 nations receive 30.42 percent of Taiwan’s outbound investment.

Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu and CNA

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