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The inclusion of Mexico and Canada in talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership increases the need for Taiwan to participate in regional economic integration, the ROC Bureau of Foreign Trade said June 20.
The 11 negotiating partners for the trade agreement account for 29.6 percent of global gross domestic product and purchase 25.35 percent of Taiwan’s total exports, according to the BOFT.
The bureau made the statement after the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the nine countries already discussing the TPP—Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the U.S.—had welcomed Mexico and Canada June 19 and 20, respectively, to join the talks.
The 11 nations’ combined share of global GDP even surpasses that of the European Union’s 25.78 percent share, the BOFT pointed out.
As multilateral trade agreement talks under the World Trade Organization framework have been progressing at a snail’s pace, many countries have begun to work out bilateral free trade agreements and participate in regional economic integration.
According to the BOFT, the impact on Taiwan exports to the U.S. of the recently signed U.S.-South Korea free trade accord is expected to top US$3.4 billion, while Taiwan exports to the European Union are anticipated to be affected to the tune of US$5.3 billion as a result of the recent inking of the EU-South Korea FTA.
Moreover, if the proposed three-way FTA among Japan, mainland China and South Korea is realized, and if follow-up negotiations between Taiwan and mainland China in the wake of the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) are not concluded by that time, the effect on Taiwan exports is forecast at US$7.7 billion or more, the bureau said.
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou has said the government is working to create the conditions that will enable Taiwan to join the TPP within eight years, to avoid being marginalized, the BOFT pointed out. (SB-THN)