A US academic from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told a forum on Thursday that Taiwan has not requested membership of the emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), negotiations of which are expected to be concluded by the end of this year.
“It’s just chronologically Taiwan has not requested [TPP] membership,” CSIS adviser Scott Miller said in response to a question about what objections there were to including Taiwan in TPP during a question-and-answer session at the forum.
CSIS organized the event with US Congressmen Charles Boustany of Louisiana and David Reichert of Washington to discuss what the TPP will mean for the US economy, and the US Congress’ priorities as the negotiations progress.
Boustany said he agreed with Miller because his understanding was also that Taiwan has not made a request to be a party to the TPP at this point.
Not long after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) started his second term last year, he said that Taiwan would try to join the TPP within eight years.
“There is always an issue of readiness,” Miller told the audience in answer to the question. “As New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser once said: TPP has a dress code and you got to be ready and willing to [comply with the] dress code [policy] to be part of the agreement... So the high standard is a factor, but to this point, it’s just chronologically Taiwan has not requested membership.”
The TPP process requires all 12 existing parties to agree to the addition of a new member and the US is just one of them, Miller said.
After the forum, when asked if the US would be willing to incorporate Taiwan into TPP after it meets the high standards, even if China opposes it, Boustany said that politics always play a part, but the US wants to establish trade deals with every nation and rules for a global trading system.
“If Taiwan expresses its interests, we will see how it goes. Our goal is to expand [markets] in Asia, with all potential agreements including Taiwan, China, anybody who wants to join, but they have to meet the trade standards,” Boustany said.