Taiwan wants to join a major trade agreement before China

Image credit: Malay Mail

Just days after China submitted an application, Taiwan has filed an application to join a key Asia-Pacific trade treaty.

However, it warned that if China joins first, its attempt to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could be jeopardised. The two locations have a tangled relationship.

Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign country, but China sees it as a separatist province. Taiwan’s senior trade negotiator, John Deng, told reporters on Thursday that if China joins the CPTPP first, “Taiwan’s case to join will be jeopardised, which is rather evident.” For new countries to join the treaty, all 11 members must agree unanimously.

According to a Kyodo News report, Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters on Thursday that he welcomed Taiwan’s application to join the accord. The CPTPP was developed by the US to offset China’s influence, but under then-US President Donald Trump, the US withdrew. It is one of the largest of its sort in the world, connecting a huge number of countries throughout the region. China has not yet responded to Taiwan’s application, despite the fact that it has previously pushed for Taiwan’s exclusion from several international organisations and labelling as part of China. 

Taiwan has occasionally joined under multiple names as a result of this. In the Olympics, for example, its team competes under the name Chinese Taipei.

Taiwan has also applied to join the CPTPP under the name of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, as it is known in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Both China and Taiwan have submitted applications after the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia recently signed a contentious security agreement in an effort to offset Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

For the first time, the Aukus accord will allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines utilising technology given by the United States and the United Kingdom.

The original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was conceived by then-President Barack Obama as an economic union to counter China’s growing strength in the Asia-Pacific region.

Following Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, Japan took the lead in negotiating the CPTPP. In 2018, 11 nations, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, and New Zealand, signed the CPTPP.

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