Ketagalan Media: Asia-Pacific Regional Economic Integration and Taiwan’s Exclusion from RCEP

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For Taiwan, exclusion from RCEP could have significant implications for its economy, which is heavily dependent on foreign trade. RCEP countries, which account for nearly 60 percent of Taiwan’s foreign trade (with China constituting 25 percent of the island’s foreign trade), and Taiwan’s major trade partners and investment centers—China, ASEAN, and Japan—are also RCEP member countries. In response to the announcement on RCEP, Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) downplayed the impact on Taiwan, arguing that 70 percent of trade between Taiwan and RCEP countries are already tariff-free. Taiwan also has two free trade agreements (FTAs) with New Zealand and Singapore, signed in July and November 2013, respectively. At the 2013 signing of the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), Taipei said that such an FTA “demonstrates Taiwan’s commitment to trade liberalization and internationalization” and “will pave the way” for Taiwan’s entry into the TPP and RCEP.

After RCEP is formally inaugurated in 2020, taxes levied on Taiwanese exports to RCEP countries could weaken the competitiveness of Taiwanese products in RCEP countries.

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Asia-Pacific Regional Economic Integration and Taiwan’s Exclusion from RCEP

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