Taiwan files application to join 11-nation Pacific trading group


Taiwan has sent an application to join the global trading group known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Thursday.

According to the Cabinet, the Taiwan government’s executive branch, the application was filed late Wednesday in New Zealand.

Su said that Taiwan, a free economic entity, has been preparing to participate in the CPTPP, the member states of which are Taiwan’s important trading partners.

“We’ve tried to communicate with some member states and made extensive efforts on preparation,” Su said.

Taiwan lacks diplomatic relations with some CPTPP members but had close ties with some of them, such as Japan. Taiwan has signed free-trade agreements with two members: New Zealand and Singapore.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to redouble efforts to participate in bilateral, multilateral and regional economic agreements, including CPTPP.
Taiwan’s move was conducted days after China filed an application to seek CPTPP membership.

Minister without Portfolio John Deng told a news conference on Thursday that Taiwan’s participation might be risky if China acquired CPTPP membership first.

Deng urged the group to focus onthe fact that there was a complete market in Taiwan, which is a democratic nation with rule of law, during the evaluation.
Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu on Thursday said that Japan welcomes Taiwan’s application to join the CPTPP.

“The CPTPP members will clearly examine whether Taiwan is prepared to fully meet our strict criteria,” Motegi Toshimitsu said in a video released by NHK on Thursday.

Tsai late Thursday tweeted in Japanese that Taiwan has prepared for joining the CPTPP for five years and it hopes that its friends in Japan will support the efforts made by Taiwan.

According to the Cabinet, Taiwan has been carrying out the harmonizing of regulations with international standards for years and communicating with domestic industries to form a consensus.

In reply to Tsai, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe tweeted that Tsai has shown that Taiwan was already determined to accept all the rules and that is quite crucial when Japan considers supporting Taiwan’s participation.

Taiwan, a self-governing democracy of 23.5 million people, has been barred from joining most international organisations due to China’s objection. Beijing considers the self-governing democracy part of its territory.

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