Albanese says Australia is unlikely to support Taiwan’s push to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
By Political reporter Claudia Long and Foreign Affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic
Nov 18th 2022
The regional trade pact takes in 11 countries around the Pacific, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.
China and Taiwan have both been pushing to join the pact, with the Morrison government previously leaving the door open to supporting Taipei’s request.
But speaking at the APEC meeting in Bangkok, Mr Albanese said the agreement was only for “recognised” nation-states, rather than economies.
“The CPTPP is a relationship between nation-states which are recognised,” he said.
“Taiwan is represented here (at APEC) as an economy.”
While Taiwan has a separate government to China, it is only recognised by 14 countries including Guatemala and Tuvalu.
Beijing claims ownership over Taiwan, and has been pressing to diplomatically isolate it, as well as blocking its entry to global bodies and trade blocs.
However Australia, like most nations, does maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan, as well as a healthy trading relationship.
The prime minister’s statement also seems to be contradicted by the text of the CPTPP which doesn’t indicate that nationhood is a prerequisite for joining the CPTPP.
The section on joining the CPTPP says that “any State or separate customs territory may accede to this Agreement” – a definition which would clearly include Taiwan.