Singapore MTI welcomes interest of any economy to join CPTPP trade pact

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Saturday (Sept 25) that it welcomes the interest of any economy that is “willing and able to meet the high standards” of the trans-Pacific trade pact, following news that China and Taiwan are applying to become members.

The MTI said the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will decide by consensus after discussing the matters on accession.

“The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership is an open and inclusive Agreement,” said an MTI spokesman in a statement, in response to media queries.

“Singapore welcomes the interest of any economy that is willing and able to meet the high standards of the CPTPP, and to realise the vision of a free trade area of the Asia Pacific and beyond. The CPTPP parties will discuss the matters on accession and decide by consensus.”

The spokesman added: “Singapore will take on the role of commission chair from next year and will closely consult members on CPTPP-related issues, including accession matters, during our chairmanship.”

CPTPP consists of 11 member states: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

The applications by China and Taiwan made them the second and third recent applicants after Britain.

China, whose defeated nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the civil war, considers the island a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

The United States on Friday praised Taiwan’s record as a candidate to join the CPTPP and criticised Beijing for stepping up jet incursions near the island.

Japan, the largest economy in CPTPP, has welcomed Taiwan’s bid to join.

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