Japan sees no technical problem with Taiwan joining TPP

Japan said on Friday it saw no technical issues with Taiwan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement after the island filed its request earlier this week, triggering a protest from Beijing, who recently made a similar offer.

“The TPP-11 agreement states that separate countries and customs territories can join, so we recognize that Taiwan is in a position to join the pact,” Cabinet Secretary-General Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference .

Kato added that Japan needs to consider whether Taiwan is ready to fully comply with “high level rules” on market access and other areas under the 11-member TPP, officially known as the Accord. comprehensive and progressive for the transpacific partnership.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato holds a press conference in Tokyo on September 24, 2021 (Kyodo)

Taiwan has indicated that it will negotiate with Tokyo to lift its ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 as part of talks to join the TPP. The top government spokesperson said Japan would seek to quickly lift the restrictions.

Taiwan’s request for entry on Wednesday follows a similar offer made last week by mainland China to join the trade pact, which involves countries like Japan, Australia and Singapore. Unanimous approval of the 11 members is required to join the agreement.

Earlier this year, Britain applied to participate in the TPP. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese minister responsible for the TPP negotiations, said on Friday that the first meeting of Britain’s membership working group will be held online next Tuesday.

Finance Minister Taro Aso also said on Friday that all requests “should be treated fairly”.

The other current TPP members are Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam. Meanwhile, the United States remains cautious about returning the treaty after its withdrawal in January 2017 under the administration of President Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s predecessor.

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