The UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an opportunity for Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday, adding that the government would submit its application to join the trade partnership at “the most favorable time.”
“CPTPP is one of the most important free trade areas in the world and UK accession could see CPTPP’s proportion of global GDP rise to 16%,” British Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss wrote in a letter of intent published on Monday.
“I believe UK membership would send a powerful signal about the importance placed on free trade by this dynamic group of countries at this critical time in our history,” the letter read.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The CPTPP is made up of 11 nations — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — which represent about 13.5 percent of the global economy.
Asked yesterday if Taiwan had made any progress in its bid to join the partnership, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Secretary-General Kuo Chung-shi (郭仲熙) said at the ministry in Taipei that the government is still conducting “informal consultations” with the 11 members.
Kuo said that the nation’s ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures is an important trade issue and that the nation would need to overcome the “trade barrier” before it could advance consultations with the CPTPP.
The government is glad to see that the CPTPP has activated its mechanism for the UK to become a new member, which spells an opportunity for Taiwan to also apply to join the bloc, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.
All of the CPTPP nations fully understand Taiwan’s intention, determination and preparations to join the partnership, and they are “positive” about Taiwan’s bid, Ou said.
The government would formally submit its request to join the CPTPP at the most favorable time and under the most favorable conditions, she said.
Issues pertinent to membership of the CPTPP are being managed by the Executive Yuan’s Office of Trade Negotiations, Ou added.
Former US president Donald Trump in 2017 withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the previous version of the CPTPP.
The signing of the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in November last year increased Beijing’s economic leverage in the Asia-Pacific region.
US President Joe Biden has said that the CPTPP would need to be renegotiated for the US to join, but his administration is currently focused on boosting the domestic economy, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
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