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.
TENSE SITUATION: If the storm does not bring rain, Taiwan might have to wait until next month amid water scarcity in the center and south, an expert said Typhoon Surigae is to bring rain to the nation’s east coast and mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. As of 2pm yesterday, the typhoon’s center was 1,170km southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Taiwan’s southernmost tip. The radius of the storm was 280km, and it was moving northwest at 9kph, with a maximum wind speed of 198kph. The bureau forecasts that the storm would switch to a northerly direction when approaching the east coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines on Wednesday, CWB forecaster Lin Ding-yi (林定宜) said, adding that Surigae would
INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Advocates are to hold a demonstration to push for the decriminalization of marijuana and allowing its use for treatment of certain conditions It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei. Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others. The group released a
SEEKING CLARITY: Some members of the US delegation asked KMT legislators in a meeting to address their party’s position on the so-called ‘1992 consensus,’ sources said A US delegation tasked by US President Joe Biden to reaffirm the country’s commitment to its partnership with Taiwan yesterday wrapped up a three-day visit to Taipei. Former US senator Chris Dodd, former US deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, and US Department of State Office of Taiwan Coordination Director Dan Biers departed at 11:20am on a private jet. The members of the delegation, all friends of Biden, arrived on Wednesday and met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and other government officials. During the three-day visit, the delegation also met with six members of the Legislative
‘AN EXCUSE’: The intent of Beijing’s incursions was ‘intimidation and coercion,’ a senior US official said, adding that China was using the US to justify its actions Chinese carrier drills and stepped-up incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the past few weeks are meant to send a message to Washington to stand down and back off, security sources in Taipei said. The increased activity — which China, unusually, described as “combat drills” on Wednesday — has raised alarm in both Taipei and Washington, although security officials do not see it as a sign of an imminent attack. Rather, at least some of the exercises are practicing “access denial” maneuvers to prevent foreign forces from coming to Taipei’s defense in a war, one official familiar with Taiwan’s security