Taiwan wooing APEC donors over Pacific trade deal membership offer

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will seek support for its bid for a trans-Pacific trade pact when it participates in a meeting of economic leaders of the APEC Asia-Pacific group next week, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday.

China, which has also asked to join the pact, opposes Taiwan’s membership and has stepped up military activities near the island that Beijing claims and has not ruled out taking by force.

Taiwan and China both asked in September to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Economic leaders from the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, which includes the United States, China and Japan, will meet virtually next week to discuss the way forward for the region to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic .

“I would like to ask Emissary Chang to use this meeting to garner the support of more APEC members for Taiwan to join the CPTPP,” Tsai told reporters, referring to the representative of Taiwan. for the meeting, the founder of chip giant TSMC, Morris Chang.

“Envoy Chang will express Taiwan’s support and insistence on free trade.”

Speaking at the same event, Chang said he would use his six-minute speech to highlight Taiwan’s qualification to meet the high standards of the CPTPP, as well as the island’s already “very high” trade contribution to the grand Pan-Pacific Free Trade Pact. He did not develop.

Membership of the CPTPP has become the latest in a series of tensions between Beijing and Taipei, which is excluded from many international bodies due to China’s insistence that it is part of a “One China.” Regardless of Taiwan’s claim that it is an independent country.

In an interview with Reuters in September, Taiwan’s economy minister questioned China’s suitability for the Pacific Trade Pact, citing restrictive business practices by the world’s second-largest economy and fearing an “obstruction” made. by Beijing.

Taiwan, a major producer of semiconductors, is a member of the World Trade Organization and the APEC grouping.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have escalated sharply in recent weeks as Beijing ramps up military pressure that has included repeated missions of Chinese warplanes to the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Michael Perry)


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