Taiwan still seeking to join CPTPP: Premier Lai

Taipei, Premier Lai Ching-te (???) said Wednesday that Taiwan is making a strong bid to gain participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal, despite China’s obstruction efforts.

In an interview with CNA, Lai said that as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Taiwan is eligible to join the CPTPP, which is preparing to start accession talks with potential new members in 2019.

With Taiwan’s economic development record, it should be able to contribute to the CPTPP, but due to China’s efforts at obstruction, it is difficult for Taiwan to become part of the trade pact, he said.

The difficulties facing Taiwan are not from home but “are completely because of China’s political obstacles,” Lai said.

In addition to ensuring that it meets the requirements, Taiwan also has to seek the support of the current signatories to the CPTPP, the premier said.

Although China is not one of the nine signatories to the CPTPP, it will try to influence the member countries to block Taiwan’s participation, according to Lai.

In light of China’s recent actions to suppress Taiwan, it would not be surprising to see Beijing redouble its efforts on the CPTPP issue, he said.

Nonetheless, the Taiwan government is continuing its work toward the goal of joining the CPTPP, Lai said, citing as an example an effort to make the necessary domestic law amendments.

The signatories to the CPTPP agreed in July to start a second round of accession talks next year, when the trade deal is due to take effect, and Taiwan is pushing hard for inclusion in those talks, according to Lai.

Taiwan has been hoping to join the trade pact since it was first put together as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was renegotiated in March after the United States pulled out, and has evolved into the CPTPP.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel