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Taiwan has formally registered to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), according to the official Central News Agency, less than a week after China announced its own proposal. According to the outlet, Deputy Economy Minister Chen Chern-chyi, Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua would provide information on Thursday.
It provided no other facts, and the Economy Ministry did not respond immediately. Wang expressed alarm last week about China’s “sudden” decision to apply for membership and expressed optimism that it would not jeopardize the island’s own application. Taiwan has previously held informal talks with the bloc’s current members about the matter. The initial 12-member pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was viewed as a crucial economic counterweight to China’s expanding economic clout. However, the TPP was put on hold in early 2017 when then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement.
The grouping, which was renamed the CPTPP, currently links Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Taiwan is barred from membership in several international organizations due to China’s assertion that it is a part of “One-China” rather than an independent country. China considers Taiwan to be its own territory.
Taiwan, on the other hand, is a member of the World Trade Organization as well as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping. Taiwan has been encouraged by recent progress toward trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, both of which are frustrated with China’s slow pace of economic opening and eager to demonstrate their support for Taiwan’s democracy and much freer market policies.