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Taiwan accelerating bid to join CPTPP, actively practicing negotiations

Taiwan is preparing for CPTPP negotiations and planning to join the trade agreement as soon as possible

William Lai.

William Lai. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is accelerating its plan to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal, with Taiwan Premier William Lai (賴清德) saying that the negotiating team is practicing for upcoming talks, during a TV interview with SET News on August 7.

Taiwan's chief trade negotiator and Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) is overseeing a host of simulated negotiations, with government teams role-playing as each of the current 11 signatories of the CPTPP, said Lai.

Taiwan has a longstanding goal to join the second-round of enlargement of the CPTPP.

Deng said in June that Taiwan hopes to join the trade deal as soon as possible after the agreement enters into force, which is expected to be early next year. In demonstration of Taiwan's willingness to participate, the Legislative Yuan passed CPTPP agriculture measures on March 15, 2018.

Media reports suggest that the ongoing China-U.S. trade war is catalyzing Taiwan's efforts to join the CPTTP, with rising tariffs and Chinese production bases hurting the bottom line of Taiwanese companies.

Taiwan, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is eligible to join the CPTPP, and Lai said that Taiwan's involvement would benefit all involved in the trade deal.

Lai acknowledged there may be political obstacles facing Taiwan's participation, but said Taiwan will not give up because of political factors.

Once Taiwan is invited to join the CPTPP, it will be able to ratify all legislation without significant delay, according to Lai.

Lai said that Taiwan as adopting a "prudential but not fearful" approach to the China-U.S. trade war, and the government is working on policies to help Taiwanese companies affected, as well as negating new investment guarantee agreements as part of the New Southbound Policy.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are the current signatories of the CPTPP.