Tariffs remaining in the US Senate bill are unimportant, as 70% of Taiwan’s exports are information technology-related and insulated from them, John Deng said
By Jonathan Chin / Staff writer, with CNA
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is unlikely to “compromise with China” following pressures concerning Taiwan’s bid to join the 11-member group, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said yesterday at an economic forum in Taipei.
Deng’s remarks came two days after the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that cross-strait tensions could impede the nation’s effort to obtain CPTPP membership.
Taipei is continuing to make the policy changes necessary to meet the CPTPP’s requirements, Deng said, adding that the UK waited two years to get accepted.
The CPTPP’s emphasis on high eligibility standards shows the trade pact “is not likely to compromise with China,” Deng said.
Taipei received no indication of opposition from any of the trade pact’s members during the discussions, he said.
“Taiwan has joined the WTO under far less favorable circumstances than it faces presently,” he said.
Regarding Taiwan-US economic relations, Deng said the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have turned the global trade order’s head by jettisoning 40 years of liberalization.
US President Joe Biden is massively subsidizing US industries ranging from chips to renewable energy in a bid to reduce American dependency on China, which creates opportunities for Taiwan, he said.
Taiwan’s growing investments in Mexico and Canada — two important trade partners to the US — are an encouraging sign that the nation is adapting to the new global economy, Deng said.
Economic data increasingly point to a diversification of Taiwanese investments in Southeast Asia, North America and Europe, in line with these zones’ trade potential within the global economy, he said.
The passage by the US Senate of the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade First Agreement Implementation Act on Tuesday and its timing reflected Taiwan’s perceived importance to the US, Deng said.
Biden’s policy to reshape the global supply chains has been a boost to Taiwan-US economic relations, he said, adding that the act would serve to preserve bilateral ties regardless of potential turnovers in the US government.
Addressing criticism that the agreement did not include a decrease in tariffs, Deng said the political consensus in Washington has turned against globalization, which discouraged the US to reduce trade barriers.
The agreement did provide other means that decrease transaction costs including a move toward paperless border controls and other policy measures facilitating interactions between Taiwanese businesses and US regulators, he said.
The issue of tariffs is of limited importance, as 70 percent of Taiwan’s exports are related to information technology and therefore insulated from tariffs, he said.
“We do not want to mislead the public into thinking all our problems would go away with the agreement, but it does provide a basis for the two sides to deal with future problems,” Deng said.
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