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Taiwan to set up fund supporting farmers against CPTPP impact

2,000 products can be kept off Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership zero-tariff list

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COA Minister Chen Chi-chung and Premier Su Tseng-chang discuss a fund to help farmers weather the impact of CPTPP membership. 

COA Minister Chen Chi-chung and Premier Su Tseng-chang discuss a fund to help farmers weather the impact of CPTPP membership.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The government will launch a fund to upgrade agriculture and help farmers withstand the impact of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) membership, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Friday (April 1).

Taiwan filed its application to join the 11-member trade group last September, just days after China did. Commentators have voiced concern that if Beijing is allowed to join earlier, it will block Taiwan’s entry.

Lawmakers expressed concern Friday that zero tariffs on farm products including rice, pineapples, and bananas would harm local farmers in key regions such as Chiayi County, CNA reported.

The Council of Agriculture (COA) replied that 4% of all products, or an estimated 2,000 products, could remain exempt from the zero-tariff level. Negotiations should succeed in keeping sensitive items off the list, helping to limit any negative impact from membership, the COA said.

Su said the government would launch a fund to help farmers upgrade the quality of their products and strengthen their competitiveness. The fund would be modeled on a similar NT$100 billion (US$3.48 million) initiative launched at the time of Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to the premier.