Taiwan is working on “informal consultations” with member states of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) before it formally applies to join the trade bloc, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said yesterday.
The ministry on Monday said there is an ongoing disinformation campaign online accusing the government of not having submitted an application and that the nation would not be admitted because of pressure from Beijing.
All nations hoping to join the trade group have to obtain the consensus of all member states through information consultations before they can submit a formal application, Ou told a news briefing in Taipei.
Photo: Peng Wan-hsin, Taipei Times
Taiwan is in the middle of conducting informal consultations with the pact’s 11 member states, which are aware of the nation’s determination and the steps it is to take for participation, she said.
Joining the CPTPP is crucial for the nation’s economic growth, and Taiwan looks forward to establishing reciprocal trade relations with member states, Ou said.
Among the 11 countries, Malaysia, Peru, Chile and Brunei have not yet completed their domestic legal process for joining the pact, Ou said.
No other new member state would be admitted at present, she said.
The 11 members represent about 13 percent of global GDP, according to information from the Executive Yuan.
Taiwan’s ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster is considered a hurdle for its bid to join the pact, while there is speculation that the government would seek to lift the ban.
The US in 2017 withdrew from the TPP, the precursor of the CPTPP.
Kurt Campbell, a former US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, earlier this month warned about China’s growing clout in regional and global economy.
Beijing has joined the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and has expressed an interest in the CPTPP, which should sound a knell for Washington, Campbell said.
He added that he did not think US president-elect Joe Biden’s administration would step into a multilateral institution very soon given the country’s domestic instability.
Additional reporting by CNA
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