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Taipei, Dec. 15 (CNA) Taiwan has notified member economies of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that it will seek to join the regional trade deal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.
Taiwan is seeking membership of the CPTPP to cushion the impact of being excluded from the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was formed by 15 Asia-Pacific nations in November, covers 30 percent of global GDP and is the largest trading bloc in the world.
Asked about the progress of Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP at a regular press conference, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said Taiwan is currently engaging in informal consultations with CPTPP member economies after notifying them of its desire to join, in accordance with the accession rules.
After receiving Taiwan’s request for accession, the CPTPP will form a working group to evaluate and discuss whether to commence the accession process or not, said Ou.
“All CPTPP members were informed of Taiwan’s intention to join and responded positively,” Ou said, adding that Taiwan will submit a formal application once initial consultations are completed.
According to the CPTPP accession rules, aspirant economies must notify New Zealand, which serves as the CPTPP depositary, of their formal request to commence negotiations on accession after gaining unanimous support from its members.
The CPTPP is a Japanese-led trade deal that comprises 11 signatories, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The 11 economies account for approximately 13 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), making the CPTPP the third largest free-trade area in the world by GDP.
Taiwan is excluded from most regional trade agreements and has difficulty negotiating free trade agreements with other countries due to opposition from Beijing, which sees the democratic island as part of its territory.