CPTPP members 'welcome' Taiwan's bid to join: New Zealand official

11/10/2021 01:08 PM
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New Zealand
New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta (left) and Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor. Photo courtesy of APEC New Zealand

Singapore, Nov. 10 (CNA) Members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have welcomed Taiwan's application to join the trade pact, according to New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor.

New Zealand's top trade official was asked if his country supported Taiwan's inclusion in the CPTPP during a press conference Wednesday after the conclusion of the ministerial meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum a day earlier.

Members of the Pacific Rim trade pact have "always been open to ascension by applicants," O'Connor said in response, adding they welcomed the CPTPP membership applications by the U.K., China and Taiwan.

It would be up to "the applicant economies to reach the standards that we have set and that we believe work well for us," he said.

According to New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), any economy seeking CPTPP ascension must ensure "the commitments they make on access for goods, services, investment, government procurement and temporary entry for business persons meet the high standards agreed by existing CPTPP members."

"New Zealand has all along been a supporter of growing CPTPP through accession by those economies willing to meet the Agreement's high standards," a MFAT spokesperson said in reply to CNA's request for a comment on Taiwan's CPTPP membership bid via email.

"The CPTPP group as a whole, through the CPTPP Commission, [will] decide whether to commence accession processes with Chinese Taipei," the spokesperson said.

Taiwan formally applied to join the trade bloc in September under the name "the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu" through its representative in New Zealand, who sent the accession form to New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

New Zealand acts as a depositary for the trade pact, and is responsible for passing the application to all member states.

The CPTPP free trade deal was signed in March 2018 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, and took effect at the end of that year, following ratification by more than half of the 11 signatories.

Any new entry in the CPTPP requires the unanimous support of all the trade bloc's members.

(By Elaine Hou, Chung Yu-chen and Teng Pei-ju)

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