President Tsai urges U.K. to support Taiwan's CPTPP bid – Focus Taiwan

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Taipei, March 20 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) appealed to a group of visiting United Kingdom parliamentarians on Monday for support of Taiwan’s bid to join a regional economic bloc in which the U.K. is also seeking membership.

Accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) by both Taiwan and the U.K. would allow for the enhancement of their bilateral trade and economic ties, Tsai said during a meeting with the delegation, which is being led by Bob Stewart, a member of the U.K. Parliament’s House of Commons.

The president said she hoped the U.K.’s application was progressing smoothly and that it would also support Taiwan’s membership bid, given the U.K.’s “position of maintaining high standards.”

Joining the CPTPP “would allow both countries to continue to deepen their relationships,” she added.

The president thanked Stewart for the Commons’ support of Taiwan, which included its debate in February last year on enhancing U.K.-Taiwan relations.

She also noted that a delegation from the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee had visited Taiwan in November 2022.

In Stewart’s address after Tsai’s comments, he did not refer to her appeal for support of Taiwan’s CPTPP bid, but he said his country has close economic ties with Taiwan.

He also pointed out that Taiwan had gained a higher ranking than the U.K. in a list of democracies complied by the Economist earlier this year, which ranked them in 10th and 18th place, respectively, worldwide.

Taiwan serves as beacon of “how democracy can work in the world,” Stewart said, adding that its advancement in that regard has been swift.

“In 30 years, Taiwan has become an amazing country,” he said. “In 800 years, the U.K. has not achieved this much.”

The other members of Stewart’s delegation include Rob Butle, Sarah Atherton, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Afzal Khan, and Marie Rimmer, all members of the Commons.

They are scheduled to meet with Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), and other senior government officials.

During their six-day trip that started Sunday, they will visit the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council.

The CPTPP, which grew out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership abandoned by the United States in January 2017, is one of the world’s biggest trade blocs, representing a market of 500 million people and accounting for 13.5 percent of global trade.

For a new member to join the CPTPP, all 11 signatories — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam — must approve the application.

Taiwan applied on Sept. 22, 2021 to join the CPTPP, less than one week after China submitted its application.

(By Joseph Yeh)