Courting the cohort before formal application . . .
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that the island is set to submit its application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the multilateral free-trade agreement signed by 11 economies in December 2018, including Canada. As part of the application process, Taiwan is pursuing informal conversations with all 11 members to “reach a consensus” before formally submitting its application. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the bloc members’ attitudes were “quite positive” towards Taiwan’s proposition. Taiwan’s application to join the CPTPP has been long in the making. President Ma Ying-jeou first proposed joining the trade pact in 2011 as part of his “golden decade plan.”
Growth rate may exceed mainland China . . .
Taiwan is one of the world’s most advanced economies in digital infrastructure, technology, artificial intelligence, and manufacturing, and is deeply embedded in regional supply chains. According to official estimates by The World Bank and other economists, Taiwan’s economic growth rate (2.5%) may exceed mainland China’s (currently forecast at 2%) for the first time in nearly 30 years. This bump in part stems from the impacts of COVID-19. Unlike mainland China, Taiwan has managed to keep most of its economy open, and the ‘new normal’ of an increasingly digital- and tech-centric world has boosted Taiwan’s manufacturing exports.
Canadians support Taiwan joining the CPTPP . . .
APF Canada’s 2020 National Opinion Poll found that 68 per cent of Canadians support Taiwan joining the CPTPP. Furthermore, most Canadians express favourable feelings towards Taiwan, and 64 per cent believe Canada should expand relations with Taiwan even if it would lead to problems in Canada’s relations with mainland China. Ottawa is faced with some hard choices regarding Taiwan, primarily the Chinese Communist Party’s reaction. But APF Canada polling indicates Canadians don’t share the same feelings. Supporting Taiwan’s application to join the CPTPP is in Canada’s interests, as it would add a member with shared values and strengthen Canadian relations with one of the fastest-growing tech manufacturing hubs in the world.