National values to factor into trade bid decision – 台北時報

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Taiwan’s democratic principles and trustworthy role in world affairs would play a role in determining membership in the CPTPP, a US official said

  • Staff writer, with CNA, Washington

Taiwan’s strong “democratic values” would be a factor in the evaluation of the nation’s application to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the US Department of State said on Friday.

In an online news briefing with the New York Foreign Press Center, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Taiwan has proved itself to be a responsible member of the WTO.

In addition to its track record at the trade body, “Taiwan’s strong embrace of democratic values would factor in the CPTPP’s parties’ evaluation of Taiwan as a potential candidate for accession,” he said.

Photo: AFP

However, the US would have no say in the decision on Taiwan’s bid, as the US is not a member of the bloc, Price said.

The decision is to be made by the bloc’s 11 member states, he said.

Price made the comments when asked about the US’ response to separate membership bids by Taiwan on Wednesday and China on Thursday last week.

Taiwan filed its application to join the CPTPP under the name “the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.”

Taiwan’s representative office in New Zealand, the bloc’s depositary nation, submitted the application to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The country is also responsible for forwarding Taiwan’s documents to the other member states.

Ahead of Taiwan’s and China’s bids, the UK applied to join the block in February.

China has said that it strongly opposes Taiwan’s membership bid, while CPTPP member Japan has expressed support, saying that the bloc would be open to applications by independent customs territories.

The CPTPP was launched in March 2018 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It went into effect at the end of that year, after more than half of the countries had ratified the pact.

It replaced its predecessor, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, after the withdrawal in 2017 of the US under then-US president Donald Trump.

As for whether the US might file a membership application, Price said there is no immediate plan, as the administration of US President Joe Biden is evaluating whether joining the bloc would be in line with its policies to revitalize the US economy.

As for Beijing’s membership bid, Price said the US expects that China’s non-market trade practices and its use of economic coercion against bloc members would play a role in the evaluation of the application.

Price reiterated the US’ support for a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, saying that a solution would have to be consistent with the wishes and the best interest of Taiwanese.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue,” with the nation, he said.

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