Feds pushed to support Taiwan’s entry into CPTPP deal

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association wants Ottawa to get behind CPTPP expansion because it is a particularly good agreement


By Sean Pratt, The Western Producer (Canada)

January 7, 2021


Canada should support Taiwan in its bid to become part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, says an Alberta think-tank.


A new briefing paper released by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy Publications said Canada has been forced to tread lightly in its dealings with Taiwan.


That is because China considers Taiwan to be a “rogue province that must eventually be reunified with the mainland,” stated report author Hugh Stephens.


There has been little appetite for bilateral trade negotiations with Taiwan because Canada fears a backlash from China.


“That attitude is finally changing,” said Stephens.


“One main reason is because China is already angry with Canada and vice-versa.”


With relations at an all-time low, Canada is free to consider negotiating a trade deal with Taiwan. It is timely that Taiwan has expressed interest in joining the CPTPP.


“By supporting Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP, Canada can achieve a free trade agreement with Taiwan without having to negotiate one bilaterally,” he said.


Stephens said the risk of retaliation is lower in allowing Taiwan to join an already existing multilateral trade deal.


“Canada should move quickly and enthusiastically to support Taiwan’s accession,” he said.


Fawn Jackson, director of government and international relations with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, thinks Ottawa should support any expansion of the CPTPP because it is a particularly good free trade agreement.


“It’s very progressive. It’s very ambitious,” she said.


“I think it makes a lot of sense for Canada to be a champion of countries joining.”


The CCA would like to see the agreement expanded to include the United Kingdom, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.


Beef consumption in Taiwan is on the rise, averaging 6.8 kilograms per person per year in 2019, up from about five kg per person just five years ago, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.


The country’s per capita beef sales rank third in Asia, behind Japan and Hong Kong.


“They certainly love the product,” said Jackson.


Canadian beef faces import duties of about 43 cents per kg in that market. There is also a ban on shipping beef from animals older than 30 months, a restriction that does not apply to American or Australian beef exports.


Taiwan imported $22 million of Canadian beef in 2019 and $23 million in 2018.


Stephens said Taiwan would be able to meet the CPTPP’s admission standards because it is already a full member of the World Trade Organization.


The CPTPP suffered a big blow when the United States dropped out of the pact. And four of its original signatories have yet to ratify the agreement.


But the agreement has entered into force for seven countries — Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.


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