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The University of Nottingham's Taiwan Research Hub book launch
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After then-president Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in 2017, it was widely assumed that the agreement would collapse. But it was resuscitated by Japan and interest in joining the amended agreement, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), has surged, with applications to join from China, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Taiwan, and others.
Traditional academic theories as to why countries join trade agreement appear to be only partially applicable in these cases. Instead, they seek to join the CPTPP as a means to an end of building political influence and linkages. The applications from China and Taiwan are of especial significance in this regard. It is argued that China’s application is driven by a broader aim of establishing regional hegemony and re-writing the ‘rules’ of the CPTPP to its own benefit. It is also commonly assumed that while the likely trade benefits for Taiwan of CPTPP membership are relatively larger than they would be for other applicants, for Taiwan membership is also an important means of defending its international space and sovereignty. China will therefore seek to block it.
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