As the ink dries on the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into force on 30th December, there have already been calls from other countries who want to take part in the deal.
One of these countries is Taiwan, and as more nations come together to work on lateral agreements to strengthen trade ties, there may eventually be scope to bring the US and China into the fold. US President Donald Trump walked away from any potential deal, which since went ahead with other parties. China has yet to show any intention of being part of the agreement.
The list of countries involved includes Australia, which has been embarking on a series of diplomatic events to try and soften some relations and exert more influence in the Asia Pacific region. To that end, the removal of the US from the scene makes it even more important that Australia remains an ally and part of the deal.
Japan, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore are also participating in the CPTPP. While the parliaments of all these nations have already ratified the agreement, other signatories have yet to offer their approval. These nations, which include Peru, Chile, Malaysia and Brunei, are likely to sign off on the CPTPP sometime during 2019.
One of the deal’s aims is to reduce tariffs on key trade routes and help strengthen the import and export process between the nations in the Asia Pacific region. There have also been pushes from countries in both American continents to have the deal encompass more regions globally.
This comes at a crucial time for world trade, which suffered dramatically in 2018 due to the ongoing trade disputes between the US and China. What started out as a relatively small tit-for-tat retaliation has threatened to spill out into a full-on trade war. Although some sentiment suggests that the strong rhetoric is beginning to subside, economists have been voicing concerns that the worst is yet to come as far as the markets are concerned.
Taiwan has been seeking the opportunity for more involvement in trade processes, and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has welcomed the developments that led to the introduction of the CPTPP. The country’s president, leading economics ministers and negotiators have also recently stated their desire to have more of a say in the region.
Calling the deal great news for the Asia Pacific region, Taiwan said that it has been working on negotiations for inclusion for some time. The nation expressed interest from the sidelines during the recent APEC Summit held in Papua New Guinea.
Taiwan believes that it is in a strong position to sign up for the trade deal given its geographical position and current endeavors in international trade routes. A discussion is set to take place in the middle of January regarding which new members that the current ones may allow to take part in the deal. The UK, Indonesia, Thailand, Colombia and South Korea are all aiming to get involved.