Taiwan’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) aims to create a boon to the economy, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said at the legislature’s economics committee yesterday.
Although entering the regional trade pact could negatively affect sensitive sectors, such as agriculture and automotive components, the benefits would outweigh the costs, Wang told the committee.
“According to our 2019 report, it is agriculture, domestic car components and food manufacturers that are going to be more heavily affected by the CPTPP accession, while automotive lighting and bumpers for exports would not be,” Wang said.
Wang also said that the Council of Agriculture has calculated that after weighing the benefits and drawbacks, “Taiwanese agriculture would make a gain of NT$50 billion [US$1.8 billion] in exports within five years of joining the CPTPP.”
Japan has welcomed Taiwan’s bid, but a delicate issue remains in the upcoming trade negotiations: Taiwan’s ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures — Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba — in the wake of a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011.
However, Wang said that the issue would be dealt with under the proviso of maintaining Taiwanese people’s health, as strong scientific evidence aligns with international rules.
At the same committee meeting, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) assured lawmakers that “no nuclear-contaminated foods” would be imported.
“We have tested 17,000 items of Japanese food imports since the 2011 earthquake, and every single one passed our standards for radiation,” Chen said. “Any foodstuffs with excess radiation is returned or disposed of. If you can find it in Taiwan, it’s safe.”
Separately, when asked about the effect of electricity shortages in China on Taiwanese companies, Wang said that the Chinese government makes executive decisions that are difficult to predict ahead of time.
Wang said she has been told by representatives of Taiwanese companies that the power cuts and restrictions might be coming to an end by Friday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said that China is aiming for carbon emissions to peak by 2030 and for carbon neutrality to be achieved by 2060.
To meet this goal, many local governments have imposed power curbs to meet energy control targets set by the central government, and as a push to enforce environmental regulations, while the country has also been tightening coal supplies.
The power cuts have extended to more than 10 provinces, but Taiwanese companies with operations in China could face power rationing on a regular basis in the long term, Taiwan Institute of Economic Research's (台灣經濟研究院) economic forecasting center director Gordon Sun (孫明德) said yesterday.
Sun said that because it is nine years from Xi’s 2030 goal, several provinces have begun power rationing plans, and these local governments could continue to cut electricity supplies.
“Taiwanese manufacturers should take the issue seriously as their production in China could be affected,” Sun said.
“They have to think about how to relocate their production resources from China in the longer term,” he added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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