Membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement is open to countries or areas who accept free and fair standards, said Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshimitsu Motegi, at the CPTPP’s first commission meeting in Tokyo on Jan. 19, reported CNA.
Motegi, who chaired the inaugural meeting, responded to questions by the media about Taiwan’s enthusiasm to join the trade bloc by saying that the commission would like countries or areas who are interested in participation to provide a wide range of information to stimulate discussion.
The first commission of the CPTPP was attended by ministers from all 11 member states, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The commission meeting decided on the procedures for new member states to join the trade deal and the process through which disputes will be settled.
Motegi’s comments reflect the position of the CPTPP commission outlined in a joint ministerial statement published yesterday.
“Ministers reiterated that the agreement is open to all economies which accept these principles and are willing to meet the high standards of the agreement and confirmed their strong determination to expand the agreement through the accession of those new economies,” the statement said.
“Amid growing concerns over recent trends toward protectionism, Ministers shared the view that it is of paramount importance to maintain and further strengthen the principles of an effective, open, inclusive and rules-based trading system.”
In response to the CPTPP commission meeting and statement, Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) reaffirmed Taiwan’s desire to participate in the trade deal, and said that all CPTPP members are aware of Taiwan’s intent.
Lee went on to say that Taiwan’s economic and trade systems are in-line with international standards, and that Taiwan is in compliance with CPTPP rules.