Canada Must Show Leadership in Backing Taiwan’s Pacific Trade Bid

With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) taking center stage in global trade, Canada has a unique opportunity as the incoming chair to demonstrate leadership. Both China and Taiwan are seeking to join the CPTPP, and it is crucial for Canada to consider the implications of each bid carefully. This blog post explores the case for Canada to support Taiwan’s Pacific trade bid and highlights the potential challenges posed by China’s application.

  1. Assessing Applicants based on Merits and Adherence to High Standards:
    The CPTPP is an ambitious trade agreement that covers various aspects of trade and investment. According to the author, applications to join the pact should be evaluated based on the applicant country’s ability to meet the agreement’s high standards and adhere to its rules. In this regard, Taiwan has a compelling case for membership, having prepared for nearly eight years to meet the requirements of the CPTPP. Taiwan’s demonstrated commitment and wide-ranging reforms align it closely with the agreement’s objectives.
  2. Political Obstacles and China’s Bid to Isolate Taiwan:
    Despite meeting the necessary criteria, Taiwan’s accession bid faces political hurdles due to opposition from China. China has consistently sought to isolate Taiwan on the international stage, limiting its participation in organizations and pressuring other countries to exclude it from trade agreements. China’s own bid to join the CPTPP is seen by many as an attempt to undermine Taiwan’s aspirations. By supporting Taiwan’s Pacific trade bid, Canada has an opportunity to counteract China’s efforts and signal its commitment to promoting international cooperation.
  3. Potential Benefits for Taiwan and the Global Economy:
    Taiwan’s inclusion in the CPTPP would enable it to deepen its trade and economic ties with other members, providing preferential access to major markets. This, in turn, would enhance Taiwan’s attractiveness as a destination for industry and foreign investment, contributing to its long-term economic viability. Moreover, Taiwan’s participation would foster a more balanced and diversified trade network in the Asia-Pacific region, reducing dependence on China and providing opportunities for economic growth for all participating nations.
  4. China’s Incompatibility with CPTPP Standards:
    While China also seeks to join the CPTPP, its policies and practices are at odds with many provisions of the agreement. For instance, the CPTPP requires participants to adhere to core labor rights and principles, including the prohibition of forced labor. Numerous allegations of forced labor and human rights abuses in regions like Xinjiang raise concerns about China’s ability to meet these requirements. China’s ongoing violations of international trade rules and its use of trade restrictions as an instrument of coercion undermine the principles of fair and free trade.

Canada, as the incoming chair of the CPTPP, has an important role to play in shaping the future of this significant trade bloc. By supporting Taiwan’s accession bid, Canada can demonstrate leadership and promote fairness, inclusivity, and adherence to high standards. Moreover, supporting Taiwan’s Pacific trade bid sends a clear message that Canada will not be intimidated by China’s attempts to isolate Taiwan. As the CPTPP expands, it becomes increasingly vital to evaluate applicants based on their merits and commitment to the agreement’s principles. By doing so, Canada can help foster a more robust and balanced trading environment in the Asia-Pacific region.


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