TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC) has called on members of the Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to vote in favor of Taiwan's membership and to not let Chinese intimidation get in the way of the country’s ascension.
In a statement issued on Thursday (Sept. 23), the Washington, D.C.-based council welcomed the news that Taiwan has formally applied to become a member of the CPTPP, saying Taiwan’s strengths in technology, investment, and supply chains would make it a vital and valuable partner of CPTPP countries.
As a leading global economy — and as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) — Taiwan has every right to be included in the CPTPP if it can reach the high bar set by its members, the council claimed.
Taiwan has already extensively consulted with members of the CPTPP, and this should better facilitate bilateral and multilateral support for its application, the council said.
USTBC President Rupert Hammond-Chambers said, “China too has recently submitted its own application to join the CPTPP. China’s recent submission to join the CPTPP should have no bearing on Taiwan’s application, which should be considered by the CPTPP members on its own economic merits and free of all Chinese political and military intimidation or coercion.”
Hammond-Chambers added that the “USTBC encourages the Biden Administration to publicly support this development.” Though the U.S. is not presently a member of CPTPP, the USTBC is also advocating for it to join the trade pact.
The U.S. is undertaking many important initiatives in the Asia-Pacific, including the recently announced AUKUS partnership with Australia and the U.K. In the absence of trade liberalization, however, the country’s bilateral and multilateral efforts in the region are at a disadvantage, the council said.
The USTBC also called on the Biden administration to consider expanding the already substantial business, trade, and economic ties between the U.S. and Taiwan by formally announcing the start of negotiations on a U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement (BTA).
A U.S.-Taiwan BTA would complement Taiwan’s membership in the CPTPP and further fortify the essential relationship between two of the Asia-Pacific's most important democracies, the Council concluded.