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Taiwan to bid for CPTPP as members intend to expand agreement

2019/01/20 13:45:05

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) Taiwan's government will continue to seek support from members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and meet its standards to join the trade bloc, Andrew Lee (李憲章), the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said Saturday.

The CPTPP on Saturday agreed to expand the trade agreement's membership during its first commission meeting in Tokyo since the pact came into force on Dec. 30, 2018.

Participating countries in the CPTPP highlighted in a joint ministerial statement the importance of expanding the agreement by taking in new members to form a stronger united front against the rise of protectionism.

"Amid growing concerns over recent trends toward protectionism, Ministers shared the view that it is of paramount importance to maintain and further strengthen the principles of an effective, open, inclusive and rules-based trading system," the statement said.

Citing the statement, Lee said CPTPP members reiterated that the agreement is open to all economies which accept these principles and are willing to meet the high standards of the agreement and confirmed their strong determination to expand the agreement through the accession of those new economies.

Taiwan's economic and trade system is on par with international standards and is in compliance with the CPTPP's requirements, Lee said.

CPTPP member countries all have an understanding of Taiwan's interest in joining the trade bloc, Lee noted, adding that Taiwan government will continue to communicate with them through various channels to seek their support.

In addition, Japanese Minister in charge of CPTPP negotiations Toshimitsu Motegi, who served as the chairman of the CPTPP committee meeting, said at a press conference that the trade deal will be open to countries or regions which accept its principles and are willing to meet its standards.

The CPTPP came into being after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of its predecessor -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership --just days after he took office in January 2017.

The other 11 TPP countries -- Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- renegotiated the free trade deal and called the new version the CPTPP. It was signed in March 2018.

Britain, Colombia, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea are seen as willing to join the CPTPP.

(By Elaine Hou and Evelyn Kao)