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On November 5, New Zealand and the US Government released complete texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) respectively. All members of the TPP must approve the texts for them to take effect, and content related to tariff reduction is expected to cause intense debates among these member countries. The Bureau of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Economic Affairs says that the Taiwan government will immediately begin the procedure, aiming to complete preparation to join the TPP by November 2016.

UDN reports, 30 chapters and annexes of the TPP are planning to reduce tariffs, from Japanese cars to cheese from New Zealand, and open up more service and trade in e-commerce among 12 countries. TPP sets international standards, including the intellectual property of pharmaceutical industry and arbitration for investors to challenge foreign governments.

Apple Daily reports, the current 12 countries in the TPP include the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Singapore.

Wall Street Journal reports, after negotiating for five years, the 12 countries finally reached an agreement for TPP one month ago in Atlanta, US. The release of the full text means the 12 governments settled on the final format of the agreement.

CNA reports, the agreement has to be signed by each member country. Many countries may have difficulties when facing their parliaments, especially the US, which must convince the Congress.

US President Barack Obama regards TPP as an important goal of economic achievements during his time in office, as well as the core of his strategy to return to Asia. Playing an increasingly important role in the Asia-Pacific region, China is not one of the TPP members.

Liberty Times reports, Director-General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade Jenni Yang says after the full text of the TPP was released, the government will compare the text with existing regulations in Taiwan. They will explain the gaps the government should deal with, assess TPP’s impact and provide each ministry with advice for amending laws.

On the other hand, the government will entrust a private think tank, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, to complete the overall impact assessment, including economy, society, culture, environment, gender, human rights, national security, minorities and so on, before May 2016. The ministries will hold consultation forums for industries, labor groups, consumer organizations and scholars.

CNA reports, the Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to complete preparation for the TPP by early November 2016, which includes amending drafts of related laws and preparing for supporting measures before the second round of TPP opens.

Translated by Wen-yee Lee
Edited by Olivia Yang