EXPLORING OTHER OPTIONS:
As the RCEP free-trade deal is led by China, Taiwan would find it challenging to join the partnership, the foreign ministry said
By Lu Yi-hsuan
and Lin Liang-sheng / Staff reporters
Taiwan would strive to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as it would be challenging for the nation to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) given China’s dominance in the latter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The RCEP was signed by 15 Asia-Pacific nations on the last day of the virtual ASEAN summit yesterday, becoming the world’s largest free-trade agreement.
The 15 nations are the 10 ASEAN members — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuen, Taipei Times
Taiwan would find it substantially difficult to join the RCEP, as it is led by China, the ministry said, adding that, as such, Taiwan’s main goal regarding regional economic integration is to push for participation in the CPTPP.
Taiwan would strive to initiate informal consultations, in preparation for joining the CPTPP, the ministry said, adding that it would continue to seek economic and trade cooperation opportunities with New Southbound Policy partner nations, the US, Japan and other like-minded nations.
Taiwan would make good use of the “US-Taiwan Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure Finance and Market Building Cooperation,” the ministry said, adding that the government would also support adding value to products and industrial transformation.
Separately yesterday, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government of not proactively trying to join the RCEP over the past four years, and declaring failure without even trying.
The trade volume between Taiwan and RCEP members accounts for about 59 percent of the nation’s total trade volume, and Taiwan’s investment in those nations accounts for 65 percent of its total foreign investment, so if Taipei cannot join the trade pact, the nation would suffer, the KMT said.
The DPP, trying only to please the US in the hopes of furthering economic and trade cooperation with Washington, neglected the development of the RCEP and the CPTPP, the KMT said, adding that the DPP’s failure in this regard could result in Taiwan being marginalized economically.
The party urged President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to call a high-level, cross-ministerial meeting to discuss how the RCEP would affect Taiwan and draw up solutions, saying that a report should be presented to the Legislative Yuan so that the public is not kept in the dark.
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