NT News

Taiwan ‘must be included’

- COURTNEY GOULD

AUSTRALIA risks looking weak in the Indo-Pacific if it turns its back on an applicatio­n for Taiwan to join a regional trade grouping, a parliament­ary inquiry has been told.

Parliament’s joint committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade is considerin­g the benefits of expanding the region’s largest free trade agreement – the Comprehens­ive and Progressiv­e Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnershi­p.

Professor Richard Herr told the inquiry that allowing Taiwan into the grouping was a no-brainer.

“If the decision was made based solely on economic grounds, this would be a nobrainer. Taiwan is an important trading partner, as identified by the fact it’s the sixth-largest of our trading partners and puts it well in front of most of the current members of the CPTPP,” he said.

He cautioned disallowin­g Taiwan to please China would damage Australia’s regional power. “It really would damage our standing as an effective global middle power by making it fairly clear that another country’s interests had bent our interest to their will,” Professor Herr said.

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