Focus Taiwan | 27 June 2018
Taiwan hopes to join CPTPP as soon as possible: top negotiator
by Chiang Chin-yeh and Frances Huang
Washington: Taiwan is hoping to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as soon as possible, John Deng (鄧振中), Taiwan’s top negotiator and a minister without portfolio, has said in a recent interview.
In an interview published Tuesday with Inside US Trade, an American trade publication in the United States, Deng said he believes Taiwan can live up to the agreement’s standards and market access commitments.
"We think we are there, we can meet all the standards," Deng said in the interview.
"We think we can also achieve that high level of liberalization and market access."
Taiwan is currently seeking support from the existing members of the agreement to become a signatory to the deal.
Eleven countries that make up about 13.4 percent of global gross domestic product — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — signed the trade agreement in early March.
The deal came about after the United States pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that had been signed by the US and those 11 other countries.
Deng, who led a delegation to Washington to participate in the "SelectUSA" investment summit last week, said the CPTPP is scheduled to take effect in early 2019, and Taiwan is seeking to get on board soon after the agreement is implemented.
Mexico has ratified the CPTPP, and Canada, Japan and New Zealand are expected to ratify the agreement by the end of this year.
Deng said CPTPP participation is important because Taiwan is concerned it will be left out of the network of trade agreements in the region, leading to disadvantages that becomes a "burden" for Taiwanese firms and result in trade diversion.
Regional trade agreements involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and between South Korea and the European Union have already taken effect, Deng said.
Asked whether Taiwan has set its sights on other regional trade pacts, including the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Deng told the Inside US Trade: "We prefer high-standard agreements, so CPTPP is the ideal one for us."
Taiwan is also considering other trade pacts, Deng said, but lower levels of trade agreements are not attractive to the country.
Taiwan is also looking to continue to liberalize its market on its own, separate from trade agreements, Deng said, and it is also trying to strengthen market transparency, including through measures that allow foreign companies to comment on new business regulations.