12 Nations Reach Consensus in TPP Negotiation, But What About Taiwan?

12 Nations Reach Consensus in TPP Negotiation, But What About Taiwan?
Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

What you need to know

So far Taiwan has signed economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, and the government is now reviewing if our current regulations meet international standards. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to explain to the TPP members Taiwan's determination in trade liberalization and request to join the second round of negotiation in TPP.

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On October 5, after five years of discussion, the ministers of economy and trade from 12 Pacific countries have passed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in the new negotiation held in Atlanta.

CNA reports, the TPP covers 40% of the global economy, but the organization was composed only by Singapore, New Zealand, Chile and Brunei in 2006. The small free trade zone, known as P4, was not going well, but after the US announced to join in September 2008, the member countries have continued to expand.

On October 5, the first round of the negotiation was completed by a total of 12 countries. Except for the US, other participants includes Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and so on.

China Times reports, in the dairy products category of this agreement, New Zealand, which dominates 17% of the global dairy market, asked the US, Canada and Japan to open up their markets to New Zealand, while the US advocates to open up to New Zealand only if Canada and Japan further open their markets to the US. The countries each took a step back and reached a consensus at the end.

The US, Japan, Canada and Mexico have also agreed to the automobiles and auto parts trade category of the agreement. Japan has agreed to extend the tariffs-free benefit for GM and Ford for more than 20 years, and the US agreed to reduce the proportion of producing auto parts of imported cars in TPP partnership nations.

Apple Daily reports, negotiators have compromised in the term of patents of bio-pharmaceutical category, which is a key part in this discussion. The US tried to lobby a 12-year patent for Avastin (cancer drug produced by Genentech), but Australia, New Zealand and other nations advocated the patent should not be more than five years so they can lower the drug prices and the cost of national health care subsidies. But in the end, all nations agree that after the biotech drug patent expires, generics drug will receive a minimum period of protection.

In addition, the TPP agreement includes tariffs reduction for cars, rice and other goods, which will result in rearrangement of the global economy. According to Financial Times, after this agreement, TPP can still accept more members. South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Colombia and other countries have shown interest in joining TPP.

BBC reports, most Japanese mainstream media report on the TPP agreement with a positive attitude, but the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-Zenchu), who has always opposed to Japan’s participation in TPP since the negotiation started in March 2010, is still concerned about the success of the agreement. JA-Zenchu even issued a strong statement saying the TPP agreement will impair Japan’s agriculture and decay the local cities.

Therefore, on October 5, Japanese Prime Minister Abe said that he has not forgotten the Japanese agriculture and livestock are parts of Japan’s beauty. Given that rice, beef, pork, dairy products and other products are expected to be imported more in the future, the Japanese government will establish a headquarters to deal with TPP agreement on October 9 and research how to compensate the affected industries.

As for whether Taiwan will join TPP in the future, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that so far Taiwan has signed economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, and the government is now reviewing if our current regulations meet international standards. The ministry will continue to explain to the TPP members Taiwan’s determination in trade liberalization and request to join the second round of negotiation in TPP.

UDN reports, DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu says that Taiwan needs to modify relevant regulations and meet global standards in order to take part in high-level free trade agreements such as TPP. It is also important to communicate with the affected industries. Wu further says, in addition to specific products such as beef and pork, after Taiwan becomes in line with international standards and regulations, there is a lot to think about and decide. Taiwan must contemplate on refining the industrial structure and creating a fair competition environment in order to allow Taiwan’s industry to develop smoothly.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

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