Taiwan’s Bid to Join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

The bloc overseeing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will likely discuss Taiwan’s bid to join this week. While the United States is not currently a member of the CPTPP, Taiwan’s accession to the multilateral trade bloc would still boost opportunities for economic exchanges between the two countries.

The CPTPP is an ambitious free trade agreement which aims to apply modern standards to Trans-Pacific trade as part of a collaborative effort to meet modern needs. With the pandemic and other factors continuing to mire supply chains and hinder plans for economic recovery, joining the CPTPP is a way to make a solid step toward planning for the future of international trade.

For Taiwan, CPTPP membership is a way to preserve recent gains and keep the country’s economy growing. In response to ever increasing global demand for its technology products, Taiwan’s GDP grew 3.11 percent in 2020 and by an astounding 6.1 percent in 2021. A robust Taiwan economy means more room for economic exchanges and investments with likeminded partners both in the CPTPP and not.

Taiwan ranks as the ninth largest trading partner for the United States and the ninth largest export market for Texas. Texas has long been a popular destination for foreign direct investment from Taiwan, garnering more than $10 billion in investment from companies like Formosa Plastics, Foxconn, Inventec, Eva Air, Nanya Plastics, First Commercial Bank, and Taiwan Cooperative Bank over the last fifteen years. Further, the edge which Texas holds in sectors like energy, biotechnology, smart machinery, and defense industries overlap key industries President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration has selected for economic focus in Taiwan.

Strong U.S.-Taiwan ties and a thriving Taiwan economy make for a solid foundation upon which to realize new investment and economic opportunities.  Accession to the CPTPP would be a win not only for Taiwan but for the United States as well.

Robert Lo
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston

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