S'pore welcomes any eligible economy's interest in joining CPTPP

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said yesterday that the country welcomes the interest in joining the trans-Pacific trade pact by any economy willing and able to meet the pact's high standards, following news that China is applying to become a member.

The MTI said the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will decide by consensus after discussing the matters on accession.

"The (CPTPP) is an open and inclusive agreement," said an MTI spokesman in a statement, in response to media queries.

"Singapore welcomes the interest of any economy that is willing and able to meet the high standards of the CPTPP, and to realise the vision of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

"The CPTPP parties will discuss the matters on accession and decide by consensus."

The spokesman added: "Singapore will take on the role of commission chair from next year and will closely consult members on CPTPP-related issues, including accession matters, during our chairmanship."

The CPTPP consists of 11 member states: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Besides China, Taiwan has also applied to join the trade pact.

China considers Taiwan a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

The United States on Friday praised Taiwan's record as a candidate to join the CPTPP and criticised Beijing for stepping up jet incursions near the island.

Japan, the largest economy in the CPTPP, has welcomed Taiwan's bid to join.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 26, 2021, with the headline 'S'pore welcomes any eligible economy's interest in joining CPTPP'. Subscribe