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Taiwan should try to join newly rebranded TPP trade deal: think tank

2017/11/11 21:22:35

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's leading policy think tank said Saturday that the country should seek inclusion in a free-trade deal that 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have decided to revive.

On the sidelines of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) summit, ministers from the 11 nations remaining in the TPP said Saturday that they have decided to move forward with a new regional trade arrangement called the "Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership" (CPTPP).

The proposed new deal maintains much of the core elements of the original TPP, which is precisely why Taiwan should attempt to join, said Liu Meng-chun (劉孟俊), director of the first research division of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER).

Even without the U.S., a key player whose withdrawal from the TPP in January left the status of the partnership in doubt, the CPTPP will be a key regional trade agreement that would keep Taiwan in the international trade loop, Liu said.

The new proposal is aimed at promoting economic growth and competitiveness in member states through the lowering or lifting of tariff barriers to trade, he noted.

If Taiwan does not enter the proposed regional trade partnership, it could easily be marginalized in the area of international trade, Liu said.

Many of its potential members, such as Vietnam and Japan, are key trading partners that have individual trade agreements with Taiwan, therefore, membership in the CPTPP would allow Taiwan to strengthen existing trade links while building new relationships, he said.

However, it is uncertain whether Japan, which is now leading the proposed CPTPP, can convince other potential member-states to allow Taiwan to join, Liu said.

Noting that relations between Taiwan and Japan remained friendly, Liu said he was urging Taiwan's current representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to help expedite talks between the two sides on the CPTPP.

(By Chu Tse-wei and Kuan-lin Liu)