China has officially sought to join the 11 member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and is expected to lobby against Taiwan’s inclusion.
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia representative Elliott Charng told a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra yesterday that Taiwan’s membership of the CPTPP would be of mutual benefit, and has requested Australia’s support to enter the pact.
Charng said Australia was already Taiwan’s third-largest source of wheat, barley, beef and meat products and admission to the trade pact would further strengthen trade.
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Meanwhile, China has lodged stern words with Australia over “inappropriate” comments by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott in a speech in Taiwan, whereby Abbott warned that “fear of upsetting China” could see Taiwan excluded from the trade deal.
A Taiwan official has asked Australia to support its bid to join the CPTPP pan-Pacific trade pact, which China opposes, saying Taiwan can boost high technology trade flows and demand for Australian minerals.
Support for Taiwan’s bid would also “send a strong message” to Australian businesses impacted by China’s recent boycotts of Australian products…
“Economic sanctions imposed on Australia by China reinforce the argument of engaging with Taiwan more closely and more deeply,” [Charng] told the committee…
The bids by China and Taiwan in the past month have sparked tension, with Beijing opposing Taiwan’s application, and Taiwan accusing Beijing of bullying…
“The opposition from China is not unexpected. China will use every way to avoid Taiwan participating in any international organisations,” [Charng] said…
China said on Monday it had lodged stern representations with Australia over “inappropriate” comments by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott who last week visited Taiwan, which is claimed by China, in a personal capacity, and met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Over the past 18 months, we have witnessed China ban a range of imports from Australia, in contravention of the free-trade agreement (ChAFTA) that the two nations signed in 2015.
Through its actions, China has demonstrated unequivocally that it does not play fair and cannot be trusted on trade (let alone other matters).
Australia should, therefore, endorse Taiwan’s admission to the TPP while blocking China’s. We should also encourage US President Joe Biden to join the CPTPP, which the US withdrew from under former President Donald Trump.
Australia should always back democracy and freedom over authoritarianism.