CPTPP membership could hurt some of Taiwan's industrial sectors

2018/03/09 22:20:21 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Government officials in Taiwan are hopeful that the country can join the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), but cautioned that businesses catering to the home market could be hurt.

Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮) said Taiwan would have to lower its import duties if it joined the CPTPP, which would increase price competition for businesses who sell mainly to customers at home.

Taiwan's import duties currently average 4.1 percent for manufactured goods and 12.84 percent for agricultural products.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) projected that reducing tariffs and opening up Taiwan's domestic market to meet the terms of the CPTPP would affect the automotive, heavy industry and household electrical appliance sectors, whose market is mostly domestic.

Agricultural produce such as dried mushrooms, garlic and red beans would also be similarly affected, the MOEA said.

On the agricultural side, however, Yang said Taiwan would benefit from liberalized access to export markets, including for such items as orchids, edamame beans, bananas, Malabar chestnuts, seedlings, and agricultural machinery.

Overall, if Taiwan were to join the CPTPP, the government would have to make the necessary preparations to mitigate adverse affects on domestic industries, Yang indicated.

While those industries welcome joining the trade bloc, they also would hope the government could help extend the time in which import duties have to be lowered for certain products and promote technology exchanges among domestic industrial supply chains, she said.

National Development Council deputy chief Chiou Jiunn-rong (邱俊榮) also expressed his support for Taiwan's bid to join the CPTPP.

It would bring about greater business opportunities for Taiwanese businesses as a whole by enabling them to expand beyond the Chinese and American markets, Chiou said.

The CPTPP could also help spark industrial transformation and boost those companies' competitiveness in the free market.

Eleven countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- signed the trade agreement in Santiago, Chile, on Thursday.

The CPTPP, which grew out of the high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership after the U.S. walked away from the pact in January 2017, represents a market of 500 million people and accounts for 13.5 percent of global trade.

(By Liao Yu-yang, Chen Cheng-wei and Ko Lin)

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