Taiwan, Frozen Out of RCEP, Explores Trade Agreement Options With US



Nick Aspinwall | The Diplomat

The world’s largest free trade agreement was signed on Sunday and includes 15 Asia-Pacific nations. Taiwan is not among them. But the country has reasons for optimism in its quest to forge international trade accords despite its ongoing formal diplomatic isolation.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) includes all 10 ASEAN members along with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and China. The latter’s presence in RCEP, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday, all but eliminates any chance of Taipei joining the free-trade pact.

But Taiwan is active in Washington this week, participating in multiple dialogues that could lay groundwork for a long-discussed free trade agreement with the United States.

Taiwan and the United States held talks on Tuesday centered on overseas infrastructure investment, opening a series of meetings on economic issues involving a Taiwanese delegation led by Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chernchyi.

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