Taiwan Says Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Offer “Risk” If China Joins First
There is a “risk” for Taiwan’s candidacy for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) if China joins first, the Taiwanese government said on Thursday, signaling a possible political roadblock. Taiwan officially applied for membership on Wednesday, less than a week after China, the world’s second-largest economy.
Taiwan is excluded from many international bodies due to China’s insistence that it is part of a “one China” rather than a separate country. Taiwan’s chief negotiator John Deng told reporters that China is still trying to hinder Taiwan’s participation internationally.
“So if China joins first, Taiwan’s case of joining should be pretty risky. It’s pretty obvious,” he said. But Taiwan has a different “system” from China’s, Deng added, stressing Taiwan’s democracy, rule of law, transparent laws and respect for personal property.
However, he said there was no direct link between Taiwan’s decision to apply and that of China, which has yet to comment on Taiwan’s candidacy. “The way mainland China comments on this concerns them,” Deng said.
He added that Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, has applied to join under the name it uses at the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the separate customs territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu. Taiwan is a member of the WTO and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Group (APEC). “I stress that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation. It has its own name. But for trade deals, the name that we have used for years is the least controversial,” Deng said.
The CPTPP’s request has been filed with the New Zealand government, which is handling the paperwork. Deng said he was unable to predict when Taiwan might be allowed to join the CPTPP, noting that Britain’s bid is progressing the fastest at the moment.
Britain began negotiations in June. The original 12-member agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s growing influence.
But the TPP was thrown into limbo in early 2017 when then-US President Donald Trump stepped down. The group, renamed CPTPP, links Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)