Less than a week after China applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), Taiwan has done the same.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed it has received a formal request from the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu which is often shortened to Chinese Taipei.
The Customs Territory is the term used by the World Trade Organisation which admitted Taiwan within weeks of China being admitted in December 2001.
It is also the term used by New Zealand in its free trade agreement with Taiwan – signed in 2013, five years after New Zealand's FTA with China.
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China promotes a "One China" policy, meaning it sees Taiwan as a province of China and a prerequisite of diplomatic relations with China is not seeing Taiwan as a country.
China submitted its application to CPTPP on Thursday last week to New Zealand which administers the secretariat for the CPTPP.
The deal, formerly known as TPP, is a trade agreement among 11 countries – excluding the United States - and which was signed in 2018 after 10 years of negotiation.
Britain applied to join the CPTPP in February this year and each new member requires the consent of all parties: New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico and Japan.
The UK's application is proceeding. The CPTPP Commission is the body which will decide whether to proceed with the next two applications and it is chaired by Japan this year.
It will be chaired by Singapore next year and New Zealand in 2023.
Trade Minister Damien O'Connor issued a statement in February welcoming the British application but he has been silent on China and Taiwan's applications.