TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) before China, otherwise the nation will find it difficult to become a member, a leading economic think tank said Wednesday (Sept. 8).
The Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) spent NT$930,000 (US$33,500) commissioning a report from the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) about the impact of Asia Pacific regional integration, the U.S.-China trade war, and the COVID-19 pandemic on Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, the Liberty Times reported.
The think tank also advised the government not to pin too much hope on joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as China was the driving force behind this trading bloc, which also includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Since Chinese leaders had already expressed their interest in joining the CPTPP, Taiwan should more actively pursue membership in order to avoid future problems, as Beijing’s announcement was not a positive development, the report said.
If the country was kept outside both trading alliances, it would affect its export competitiveness and its New Southbound Policy promoting closer ties to 18 countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Asia Pacific, according to the CIER report.
Taiwanese businesses that returned to invest in Taiwan over the past few years have also called for moves that would benefit their exports, such as signing free trade agreements with other countries or joining trade alliances like the CPTPP in order to strengthen their competitiveness.