Taiwan News | 19 November 2020
Too early to join CPTPP: Taiwan economic minister
By Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The time is not yet ripe for Taiwan to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), economic minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said Thursday (Nov. 19).
On Nov. 15, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the 10 member states of ASEAN formed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade area. However, Taiwan was unable to join due to Beijing’s influence over the partnership.
This brought Taiwan’s quest to participate in international trade alliances into focus once again, with lawmakers questioning Wang Thursday about the government’s plans for another major economic grouping: the CPTPP.
The minister said she regrets that Taiwan is unable to join RCEP under the present circumstances but said the country needs to work toward other possibilities while improving its economy and linking up with the global community, UDN reported.
Wang nevertheless praised Taiwan’s performance over the past year, including its handling of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and positive advances in the domains of technology, supply chains, and exports.
Still, the minister emphasized it will take some time before Taiwan is ready to join the CPTPP. The good news for Taiwan is that this partnership included more countries that are favorable to Taiwan, which would help its case for membership, Wang said.