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Taiwan to seek U.S. support for TPP bid under TIFA talks
Central News Agency
2014-02-17 07:28 PM
Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) Taiwan will use talks under the Taiwan-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) as an opportunity to discuss Taiwan's bid to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an official said Monday. The TIFA talks will be an opportunity for Taiwan to reiterate its efforts to seek entry into the U.S.-led trade bloc and seek Washington's support, Taiwan's deputy representative to the U.S., Leo Lee, told reporters in Taipei on the sidelines of a seminar attended by some of Taiwan's overseas envoys. The four-day seminar, which began that day, is aimed at finding ways to gain support abroad for Taiwan's bids to join the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), another Asia-Pacific trade bloc. Taiwan and the U.S. resumed the TIFA talks last March. The agreement was signed in 1994 as a framework for Taiwan-U.S. dialogue on trade-related issues in the absence of diplomatic ties, but talks had been suspended since 2007, largely due to controversy over U.S. beef imports. Asked about the U.S. attitude toward Taiwan's TPP bid, Lee said that Washington welcomes Taiwan's interest in the TPP. The seminar is receiving great attention from Washington, Lee said, adding that he will share what he learns from it with the U.S. Taiwan's representative to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun, who also returned to attend the seminar, told local media that it is an opportunity to share experiences and jointly brainstorm strategies for seeking entry to the TPP and the RCEP. "We will continue to seek Japan's support for our bids," Shen said, adding that Taiwan and Japan have signed several trade agreements covering areas such as e-commerce, investment protection and financial supervision. Foreign Minister David Lin said the overseas representatives will have to submit proposals on how to advocate Taiwan's TPP and RCEP bids in the countries in which they are based after the four-day seminar. The government has set a goal of finishing the TPP preparations by July, Lin added. As part of the seminar, the representatives will also visit Taiwan's free economic pilot zones over the coming days, according to the Foreign Ministry. This will give the envoys a better understanding of Taiwan's trade liberalization efforts. Taiwan's representatives to Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, India, Peru, Chile, Canada and Mexico have returned to attend the seminar. Other participants include Lee and newly appointed representative to the U.S. Shen Lyushun. The TPP is currently being negotiated by the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations -- Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei. The RCEP is being negotiated by all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Taiwan has repeatedly reiterated its desire to join the two trade blocs to avoid economic marginalization. President Ma Ying-jeou said earlier in his opening remarks at the seminar that a top priority in the next TIFA talks will be negotiating a bilateral investment agreement. The latest round of TIFA talks is expected to take place later this year, according to Lin. (By Elaine Hou)
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