Taiwan reaffirms desire to join CPTPP trade deal

MOFA says Taiwan CPTPP participation good for Asia-Pacific region

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The CPTPP at its founding meeting.

The CPTPP at its founding meeting. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reaffirmed its desire to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Dec. 30, the day that the trade deal entered into force.

MOFA said it hoped the trade bloc will accept new members soon, and reaffirmed Taiwan’s desire to promote growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

The CPTPP has entered into force and the first round of tariff reductions has taken place, after the agreement was ratified by the parliaments of Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore. Other signatories Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, and Peru are expected to pass the agreement in 2019.

CPTPP membership has been a long-held goal by the Taiwanese government, with the president, economics minister, and top trade negotiator publically stating the nation’s willingness to participate. Taiwan has actively practiced ascension negotiations, as well as lobbied for its participation on the sidelines of the APEC summit held in Papua New Guinea last month.

MOFA congratulated the 11 member states for rolling out the deal in the current international economic climate, and said the agreement is of great significance to trade and development in the Asia-Pacific.

MOFA stressed that Taiwan is an important player in the global economy and international supply chains, and suggested that Taiwan’s membership will be of benefit to numerous states in the region.

The CPTPP includes around 500 million people, and accounts for 13 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Discussion of procedures to include new members in the trade bloc will take place at a meeting in Tokyo on Jan. 19.

Colombia, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, and the U.K. have also signaled interest in joining the trade deal.