TPP discusses UK membership.

united kingdom marching band
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According to the Kyodo news, the current 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began discussing the United Kingdom’s bid to join the trade pact. If approved, the UK will be the 12th member since the creation of the TPP in 2018. At the time of this post, China and Taiwan have also submitted applications to join the free trade agreement.

While typically known as the TPP, the official name is called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. The chair of the organization rotates and the current chair is Japan.

Entry to the CPTPP requires applicant countries to revise their domestic laws and regulations to meet TPP criteria. If approved, the UK will join Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Taiwan’s CPTPP application followed by China’s CPTPP application.

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According to a Reuters article, Taiwan’s economy minister, Mei-hua Wang, voiced concern last week after China’s “sudden” decision to apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) following Taiwan’s application.

In response, the Taiwan economy minister claims China’s current policies are counter to the principles of free trade and transparency expected by CPTPP members – such as China’s use of import bans and potential inability to meet the high standards required of CPTPP participating countries.

According to the Reuters article, one such motivation for China’s sudden application is because China views Taiwan as part of its territory and does not want Taiwan to join before they join.

The CPTPP was originally going to be known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but the trade agreement was drastically changed in 2017 when former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement. This led to creation of the current CPTPP linking the following countries: Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Besides Taiwan and China, Britain is also applying for membership.

Lastly, Reuters writes Taiwan has been heartened by recent progress towards trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, which are both frustrated with China’s lack of progress in opening its economy and are keen to show their support for Taiwan’s democracy and much freer market policies.

Taiwan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Hsinchu, Taiwan.

The Obama administration supported the US’s participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a multilateral trade agreement between the US and 11 other nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. When President Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, he fulfilled his campaign promise and withdrew from the TPP.

Following the US withdrawal – the remaining nations named the trade deal the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) linking Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

This past week, Taiwan announced they will submit an application to join the CPTPP. New member applications are required to hold informal talks with existing member and reach a consensus before they can apply.

One potential roadblock for Taiwan’s entry into the CPTPP could be China’s joint application to join the CPTPP.

If you have any questions about the TPP, CPTPP or any other trade agreement – contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Japan-US Trade Pact in effect starting January 1, 2020.

Japan - Fuji

Mt. Fuji in the background, source: Jane Chang

The Japan-U.S. trade agreement started in April 2019, and starting January 1st, comes into effect, resulting in an immediate cut in tariffs on American farm products and a variety of Japanese industrial goods. Unfortunately, the trade agreement does not include passenger cars and auto parts. In addition to a trade agreement, the US and Japan reached an agreement on digital trade. As the US pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this trade agreement was crucial for continued US/Japan trade.

Some terms of the trade deal include a reduction in import duty of US beef from 38.5% to 26.6%, with the ultimate duty rate of 9% in 2033. Other duties on cheese, wine, pork will eventually reach zero. In return, US duties on Japanese air conditioner parts and fuel cells were also removed as part of the deal.

While this current trade deal does not address import duties on cars and parts from Japan, second round talks with Washington (set for April 2020) may result in a trade deal. But the United States maintains import duties on cars and auto parts from Japan, despite strong calls for their abolition by the Japanese side.

We have been keeping up with this new trade deal, if you are wondering how it may impact your business, give us a call or text at 832-896-6288 or send us an email to David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or work official email: dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Taiwan seeks entry into CPTPP

Ship Exiting Harbor - Tony Tan

Credit: Tony Tan

As reported by the Central News Agency in Taiwan – Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she hopes Japan will support Taiwan’s admission into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Since the US’s withdrawal, Japan has led the trade initiative and President Tsai hopes the strengthening ties between the two nations will help Taiwan enter the CPTPP.
Part of this recent push could be related to the recent loss of two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies – Pacific island nations of Kiribati and the Soloman Islands. The loss of these two allies is the result of a pressure campaign by China and reduces Taiwan’s diplomatic allies from 17 to 15.

US and Japan reach trade deal.

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Last week, President Trump and his counterpart Prime Minister Abe of Japan reached a trade deal to cut tariffs and increase trade between the two nations.

Part of the deal includes Japan agreeing to reduce or cancel tariffs on American agricultural exports such as beef, corn, pork and fruit – with the US agreeing to reduce tariffs on bicycles, flowers, tea and other industrial products.

At the same time, the agreement prohibits future tariffs on streaming videos, music and video games.

If you have any questions about how the new trade deal with Japan will impact your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Potential US Japan deal looks to boost US agriculture exports.

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As promised during his campaign, President Trump withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership – leaving Canada, Mexico and Australia as the major players; opting instead to enter into bilateral agreements with individual countries.
After the TPP took effect this January, US farm exports to Japan dropped by 2% for the first half of the year, with a projected annual net farm income loss of $4.4 billion annually. This could be due to US exports of beef to Japan now subject to a 38.5% duty, ground pork at 20% and some cheeses at 40%. The lack of a trade deal has also impacted
Japan’s exporters of steel and aluminum to the US. The President has previously threatened Japan with duties on auto imports.
The US and Japan have reached an agreement in principle expect to make the trade deal official in the upcoming months.

Canada’s Global Affairs consults whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK should join CPTPP.

The Global Affairs Canada organization includes individuals, businesses (including SMBs), industry associations, experts, consultants, academics, civil society organization, labour unions, governments, indigenous groups, students and youth and other interested Canadian stakeholders.

In late July, Global Affairs Canada started discussions whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”).

An announcement was published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1. Global Affairs Canada has has begun soliciting comments for whether these countries (and China) should join the CPTPP. The deadline for submissions is midnight, August 25, 2019.

The announcement asks for the following information:

1. Contributor’s name and address and, if applicable, the name of the contributor’s organization, institution or business;
2. The specific issues being addressed; and
3. Where possible, precise information on the rationale for the positions taken, including any significant impact it may have on Canada’s domestic or international interests.

Additionally, they would like feedback on specific markets that Canadians and businesses would support entry to the CPTPP.

The full text of the announcement and additional topics Global Affairs Canada would like feedback on can be found here:

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2019/2019-07-27/html/notice-avis-eng.html#nL5

 

CPTPP invites other nations to join.

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The 11 countries that are part of the “Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)” (formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership), have agreed to expand the trade agreement and are seeking involvement of other Pacific nations.

Last week, the first meeting of the CPTPP was held in Tokyo where Ministers and Officials from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were in attendance.

The CPTPP issued a statement welcoming any new countries that can “meet CPTPP’s high standards and objectives”.

The CPTPP was enacted in December 2018 and proceeded after the Trump Administration removed the US from the deal. The next CPTPP meeting will be held in New Zealand and starting in 2020, each member nation will take turns hosting a meeting.

Contact our office if you have any questions how the trans-pacific partnership will impact your business. David Hsu, 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Vietnam becomes member of UN Commission on International Trade Law.

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According to the Vietnam.net Bridge website – Vietnam was voted in by the UN General Assembly for membership into the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) last week.

The goal of UNICTRAL is to remove legal obstacles to international trade and Vietnam’s membership shows Vietnam’s increasing importance in trade in Southeast Asia. I believe the US-China trade war may help this along by pushing companies to seek other countries for manufacturing of goods to avoid the 10-25% duties on goods from China.

As written on my blog multiple times, Vietnam is also a party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).