Taiwan pursues membership in the CPTPP

Remaining 11 countries agree on fundamental framework, renaming TPP

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The file photo shows the trade ministers and delegates of the 11 remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hold ministerial meetings wh (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- With the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 11 remaining countries have achieved consensus on a new version of its framework, renaming it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, all the remaining 11 countries of the CPTPP are vital trading partners of Taiwan, and joining it would be beneficial for Taiwan's exports.

Over the past week, leaders of the remaining 11 member states of the TPP held additional multilateral meetings while attending the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, and have reached consensus on the fundamental contents of the CPTPP

Yang Jenni, head of the Bureau of Foreign Trade said in an interview, the member states of the CPTPP have agreed to use the original TPP framework as a foundation for the development of the CPTPP, while postponing the enforcement of some 20 clauses. This means the new CPTPP will not be as strict as the original TPP, which will make it easier for industries to adopt, and to reach certain required standards if Taiwan does successfully join in the future.

The negative impacts, however, still cannot be assessed at the moment as the 11 member states have not yet worked out  specific details of the partnership agreement, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Yang has also revealed that  four subjects that still need to be agreed upon are; Malaysia's intention to alter the list of government-controlled industries, Brunei's reservation on the openness and investment in coal service industries, Vietnam's objection to including retaliatory trading measures in dispute settlement mechanisms, and Canada's opposition to including cultural service industries. Once these matters are settled, the multilateral agreement can become finalized.  

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the postponed clauses are those that relate to the dispute settlement mechanisms between investing and hosting countries, protection of intellectual property, and governmental procurements.

A specific timeline on when the CPTPP will officially come into effect is still hard to forecast, says Yang, as the definite clauses have yet to be released.

According to Yang, the 11 member states of the CPTPP have a combined economic scale of $10 trillion US dollars, which forms 13.6 percent of the world's GDP. More importantly, trade with the 11 member states combined, comprised around 25.25 percent of Taiwan's total trade last year, making them crucial trading partners of Taiwan.

Joining the CPTPP will significantly benefit export-oriented manufacturing industries in expanding their markets.

Yang believes that Taiwan can benefit from any form of an international trade agreement, whether it be bilateral or multilateral. The Ministry of Economic Affairs will aggressively pursue membership and is optimistic towards entering the CPTPP.