President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said.
The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said.
Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters
The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and clean energy, among other issues that affect the region, they cited White House officials as saying.
Washington has shown deep concern over semiconductor supply-chain issues, while Taiwan is a leading chipmaker and has an interest in enhancing ties between the two countries, the official said.
A push to enter the framework is not expected to negatively affect Taiwan’s ability to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as the organizations would not overlap and their goals are not in conflict, they said.
A week after China submitted its application to join CPTPP, Taiwan on Sept. 22 last year formally applied to join the trade bloc under the name “the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu” through its representative in New Zealand, which acts as a depositary for the trade pact and is responsible for passing applications to all member states.
The US plans for a comprehensive economic framework for the Indo-Pacific is only one component in a larger regional strategy being considered in Washington, which Taiwan must observe closely, the official said.
Speaking at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan in December last year, Tsai said that Taiwan’s technological innovation and agile economy show that the country should play a role in the Indo-Pacific economic framework.
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