Written by Roy Lee. Taiwan has been preparing for CPTPP accession for the last eight years. The economic importance of CPTPP for Taiwan is critical, as it is perhaps one of the limited options available for Taiwan to avoid being marginalised from the Asia Pacific regional integration process. This article starts with a review of key policy rationales for Taiwan’s CPTPP accession, then analyses major challenges and impediments, and offers thoughts on future prospects.
Category: Political economy
South Korea’s Application to CPTPP, What Caused the Delay?
Written by Sohyun Zoe Lee. In 2010, the United States (US) extended an invitation to South Korea to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after the successful conclusion of the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA). At the time, South Korea was rapidly growing as a hub of FTAs, negotiating multiple cross-regional FTAs, including those with big and advanced economies such as the US and the European Union. Surprisingly, however, it had refrained from joining the TPP. Meanwhile, South Korea joined another mega-regional FTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), launched in 2012. With the emergence of RCEP, 2010 became recognised as the start of an era of the competitive rise of mega-regional FTAs. Moreover, South Korea reached an inter-ministry consensus in April 2022 under the Moon Jae-in administration. This is when it officially announced the government’s decision to apply for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TPP (CPTPP), the successor of TPP, after the withdrawal of the US. Against this backdrop, why is South Korea yet to join CPTPP?
Australia’s Perspective on the Applications from the UK, China, and Taiwan to Join the CPTPP
Written by Richard Pomfret. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) evolution has been a combustible mixture. On the one hand, the CPTPP, as an international trade agreement that goes beyond WTO commitments, involved lengthy negotiations before consensus on the text could be reached and the CPTPP could be implemented. On the other hand, the CPTPP, as an instrument of domestic politics and of international relations, has been subject to dramatic coups de théâtre. The USA signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership after eight years of negotiations, but President Trump refused to ratify the agreement three days after taking office in January 2017. Both elements – careful negotiation of a legal text and grand political gesture – are visible in Australia’s approach to the CPTPP.
Cashing in Taiwan’s Chips: Trade Deals and Divergent Interests from Washington and Tokyo
Written by Shihoko Goto. The momentum for Taiwan to be an integral part of the global economic community is reaching unprecedented levels. Taiwan’s ability to keep the pandemic at bay when the international community was first gripped by the rapid spread of covid in early 2020 certainly opened the world’s eyes to Taipei’s efficient, capable responses to emergencies. But the disruptions to global supply chains and the recognition of Taiwan dominating the international semiconductor manufacturing market have catapulted Taiwan’s economic standing. At the same time, growing concerns about ensuring the status quo in cross-Strait relations have only raised awareness of the fragile situation that Taiwan finds itself in. The question is whether Taiwan has suitably leveraged its advantages to ensure its economic prospects and safeguard its future.
From WTO to CPTPP: What Makes the Consideration of China and Taiwan’s Accessions Different?
Written by Jacques deLise. In 2000-2001, China and Taiwan entered the World Trade Organization (WTO). Their admittance to the central institution of the international economic order was, in effect, a package deal that became possible with the assent of the United States, which had been a last principal obstacle to Beijing’s long-sought membership. Two decades later, China and Taiwan have applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This arrangement emerged from the larger Trans-Pacific Partnership after the US opted out. The two bids face major challenges, including those born of changes in the international stature and posture of each of Taiwan, China, and the United States.
How Vital is the CPTPP Membership to Taiwan?
Written by Yun-Chieh Wang. On September 22, 2021, six days after the Chinese government submitted its application to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Taiwanese government handed in its application to the depository in New Zealand. According to World Trade Organisation (WTO) data, Taiwan ranks as the top 15 goods export and the top 18 goods import economy in 2020. However, Taiwan has only signed a few trade agreements with its trading partners and cannot join critical regional trade agreements such as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Therefore, participating in CPTPP is expected to promote Taiwan’s trade ties with the trade partners effectively.
A Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP): A Game of Go? Or Three-dimensional Chess?
Written by Chun-Yi Lee and Michael Reilly. The CPTPP is an ambitious, wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in March 2018. The CPTPP was originally named as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and comprised twelve members. However, after the Trump administration withdrew the USA from it in 2017, the remaining eleven countries reorganised and renamed it. After leaving the EU, the UK applied to join in February 2021, followed by China and Taiwan in September. South Korea has been considering joining but has yet to do so. Countries seeking to join the bloc must negotiate tariffs and other market access conditions with each of the eleven original members.
USA, China, and Taiwan: Post-Endemic Strategies for a New Global Economy
Written by Ian Inkster. Joe Biden’s recent scooping up of the fog of ‘strategic ambiguity,’ the seldom re-specified policy of the USA towards China in the case of an overt attack on Taiwan, was made in haste but has set the tail of the cat alight and its very colour in doubt. In Japan, Biden warned that China was ‘flirting with danger’ and then admitted that the US would defend Taiwan against invasion by China as contra to the Ukraine case. He was then asked directly if the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded, when it has not done so in the invasion of Russia against Ukraine.
What’s Exactly Wrong with Taiwanese Media?
Written by Ti Wei. To solve the Taiwanese media problem, the first step is to recognise that the problem is unique and not like any other case in the world. Moreover, this problem could not be explained by any Western theories. Therefore, we need to carefully clarify and re-examine the nature of the problem and study society and the audiences thoroughly. Then, based on the re-acquainted knowledge, we may draw a new and reflective plan for rebuilding the media system. The only thing for sure is that it is neither commercial nor public in the Western sense. In addition, the latest development of media platformatisation and the new audience generation should be considered. The task is tough, but any endeavour to pay should be worthy when we think of how much hardship Taiwanese media have been through.
Hard Cash or Soft Values? Assessing the ‘Lithuanian Model’ of Eastern European Relations with China and Taiwan
Written by Dominika Remžová. Over the last year and a half, Lithuania has been at the forefront of the EU’s improving relations with Taiwan and worsening relations with China. This culminated with Lithuania leaving the 17+1 framework of cooperation between China and 17 (now 16) eastern European countries on the one hand and the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius on the other. The two events occurred in May and November 2021, respectively, with the latter being particularly controversial, as China argued that the denomination ‘Taiwanese’ breached the EU’s One China policy, which led to the imposition of Chinese economic sanctions on Lithuanian products. However, as Lithuania’s economic relations with China are negligible, at least when compared to western European countries, Beijing made the unprecedented move of targeting EU-wide supply chains that contain Lithuanian products. This effectively escalated the bilateral disagreement to the EU level, with the bloc filing a WTO case against China.
What Does the Ukraine Crisis Tell Us About the Fate of Taiwan?
Written by Raian Hossain. The Russian invasion of Ukraine raises a serious concern over international peace, security, and stability. This led to numerous debates among analysts, academics, and journalists over the possibility of Beijing’s aggregation toward Taipei. There are good reasons why such concerns are in discussion. Chinese fighters’ incursion of Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone has become a regular practice in recent times. Hence, these lead toward analysing the possibility of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) invasion of the Republic of China (ROC), often known as Taiwan, using the lens of security, political economy, and diplomacy.
A Reflection on the UK’s Parliamentary Reaffirmation to Bolster Economic, Security & Develop Strategic Ties with Taiwan
Written by Raian Hossain. Most importantly, the debate at the House of Commons has highlighted a strong unity among different political parties’ parliamentarians in bolstering ties with Taiwan in all possible ways, be it economic, helping the island in international recognition, along with ensuring peace, security, and stability across the Taiwan Strait region. The cross-party unity approach ensures much more robust ties between UK-Taiwan in the upcoming days despite which party forms government in London in future.