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Taiwan seeks to join CPTPP

2018/03/09 15:40:18

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Taipei, March 9 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) congratulated Friday the inking of a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement, saying that Taiwan will seek to join the bloc to contribute to regional economic integration.

Taiwan is delighted to see the clinching of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and congratulates the signatory countries on setting a milestone in the region's economic integration and cooperation, MOFA said in a news release.

Eleven countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- signed the trade agreement Thursday in Santiago, Chile.

"Taiwan will do its best to take part in the CPTPP at an appropriate time," the MOFA said.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) have instructed all relevant agencies to make arrangements to seek Taiwan's entry into the CPTPP, the ministry said.

The CPTPP, transformed from the now-defunct high-standard free trade deal Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which the U.S. walked away in January last year three days after President Donald Trump's inauguration, represents a market of 500 million people and accounts for 13.5 percent of global trade.

Echoing MOFA's view, the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a press release that it is happy to see the development.

According to the bureau, the agreement will become effective in 60 days, as long as at least six member nations have ratified it. At that time, Taiwan will seek to join the CPTPP as quickly as possible, it said.

The CPTPP's 11 members account for 25 percent of Taiwan's total foreign trade, with Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam among Taiwan's top 10 trading partners, while 30.42 percent of Taiwan's outbound investment is absorbed by the 11 nations, it noted.

Taiwan will continue to adjust its laws and regulations, assess the impact of CPTPP on the domestic economy, step up its lobbying efforts abroad and communication at home in an effort to push for its early entry into the deal, the bureau said.

(By Elaine Hou, Liao Yu-yang and Flor Wang)