Taiwan should prioritize entering the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as it could be isolated from two major regional trade blocs if China joins it first, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) said in a report published earlier this year.
As China controls the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), it would be virtually impossible for Taiwan to join it, the Taipei-based think tank said in a report commissioned by the Mainland Affairs Council on the effects of regional integration, a US-China trade dispute and COVID-19 on the government’s New Southbound Policy.
With 15 member nations — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN members — the RCEP is the largest trade bloc in the world, despite India opting out of the agreement in 2019 citing concerns about over-reliance on China.
Hong Kong has also voiced its desire to join the bloc formed last year to serve as a gateway between ASEAN and China, a proposal that received enthusiastic support from Beijing at last week’s virtual Belt and Road summit.
China at last year’s APEC leaders’ meeting also voiced its intention to join the main rival to the RCEP, the CPTPP, which was formed under Japanese direction in 2018 after the US withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
If China succeeds in joining the 11-member trade agreement, it would “not be good news” for Taiwan, CIER said in its report, recommending that the government seek to join the bloc as soon as possible to avoid “future variables” that could hinder its acceptance.
Both blocs are likely to add new members, potentially harming the nation’s export competitiveness and especially its ties formed through the New Southbound Policy if it cannot join at least one of them, it said.
Regional economic integration through bilateral trade agreements has long affected Taiwan’s exports, and the situation would continue to worsen if Taiwan cannot better integrate with the region, the report said.
The smaller scope of tariff reductions and the longer grace period to lower them under the RCEP as opposed to the CPTPP mean that short-term effects on the nation’s exports would be limited, but it could erode its competitiveness in the medium and long term, it said.
After the start of the US-China trade dispute, many repatriating Taiwanese businesses complained about the nation’s weak export competitiveness in the absence of free-trade agreements, it said.
Besides joining the CPTPP as soon as possible, which most experts agree affords the greatest opportunities to Taiwan, the think tank also recommended negotiating bilateral agreements, particularly the much-anticipated Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the US whose negotiations restarted in June after a five-year hiatus.
However, including Taiwan in multilateral talks rather than pursuing bilateral agreements is more attractive for individual governments, as it is less likely to incense Beijing, it said, adding that joining the CPTPP could be a breakthrough for Taiwan’s trade ties with nations covered by the New Southbound Policy.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been