Taiwan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade pact is unlikely to happen any time soon, Washington experts say.
“Taiwan would be a tricky one for the US government, so I don’t see any dramatic move in that direction,” Asian Development Bank executive director Robert Orr told a conference this week.
“It’s always a touchy issue for us in terms of our relationship with China, and in my estimation it won’t be coming any time in the near term,” Orr added.
Victor Cha, director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, said China would be a factor.
“Speaking very plainly, in terms of rounding out TPP, the brass ring is China, thus it’s going to be hard to have a conversation about Taiwan,” Cha said.
However, Cha said that Taiwan had worked very hard to bring itself to the table “in all sorts of different international institutions” and “you can’t rule anything out.”
“If in the long term TPP has a sort of transformational effect on not just the economic, but also the strategic picture, and if the cross-strait relationship continues to improve, you don’t know what’s possible in the future,” he said.
Organized by the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS) and the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown University, the conference was focused on negotiating growth in Asia.
The proposed TPP agreement between the US, Japan and 10 other countries is not yet complete, and Taiwan hopes to join it as part of a second group of countries after the initial deal is reached.
Representative to the US Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) says that membership is a “must” for the next stage of Taiwan’s national development.
The countries currently involved in TPP talks account for about 40 percent of global economic output and more than a third of world trade.
Shen has told Washington reporters that joining the pact is vital for Taiwan to keep up with increasingly tough competition.
An academic paper on cross-strait relations published by the CSIS this week says that Taiwan continues to be “effectively excluded” from regional trade regimes such as the TPP and bilateral trade liberalization agreements.
Written by David Brown, a Johns Hopkins University professor of China studies, and Kevin Scott, an associate director of Asian policy studies at the Brookings Institution, the paper says that in October last year, then-minister of economic affairs Woody Duh (杜紫軍) said several other countries were willing to hold substantive trade negotiations with Taiwan, but that talks had not begun due to interference from China.
“The hesitant countries are believed to be India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia and perhaps Australia,” the paper says.
It says that the government’s inability to sign high-profile free-trade agreements (FTAs) has seemed like “a slow motion crisis” for Taiwan and that the risk of marginalization became more urgent when China and South Korea announced the conclusion of substantive negotiations on a bilateral FTA.
“While committed to its peaceful development policy, Beijing will have important tactical decisions to make about what can be accomplished in the remaining months of [President] Ma Ying-jeou’s [馬英九] presidency and on how it can position itself most effectively to influence the outcome of the 2016 election,” the paper says.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority
A group of overseas Taiwanese in Norway are taking a case on their national identity to the European Court of Human Rights — with plans to file the case in the first half of next year — after Norway’s Supreme Court rejected their appeal to change their listed nationality from “China” to “Taiwan,” Joseph Liu, a Taiwanese lawyer living in Norway, told reporters on Monday. One of the initiators of the movement, “My Name, My Right,” Liu and his group plan to hire lawyers from the UK and France who know European law and have knowledge of Asia to represent them,