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Taiwan eyes greater role in Southeast Asian economic integration

Taiwan eyes greater role in Southeast Asian economic integration

Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) Taiwan is hoping to play a greater role as Southeast Asian countries become more economically integrated with their northern neighbors, the country's envoy to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in Russia said Monday. Taiwan is looking to participate in the process in which members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are developing closer economic partnerships with China, Japan and South Korea, Lien Chan said at a news conference. "We conduct frequent economic exchanges with ASEAN states and our relationships are good," said Lien, who will depart for the Sept. 8-9 APEC leaders' summit on Sept. 6. This year's summit will focus on trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration and food security. The former vice president and honorary chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has been tapped for the fifth consecutive year to serve as Taiwan's envoy to the APEC meeting. China opposes the presence of Taiwan's president at the event. Lien also said at the news conference that he will take the opportunity to discuss trade issues with officials from Taiwan's key trading partners, including China, Japan and the United States, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting. One of the issues he expects to raise is the resumption of talks under the Taiwan-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) during his meeting with American officials. "We can discuss the timing (of the talks), and (we) hope to re-open the TIFA platform as soon as possible," he said. Earlier Monday, at a meeting between the APEC delegation and President Ma Ying-jeou, Ma asked Lien to bring up the issue with U.S. officials and hoped talks under the TIFA could be resumed by the end of this year. The TIFA was signed in 1994 as a framework for Taiwan-U.S. dialogue on trade-related issues in the absence of diplomatic ties, but has been suspended since 2007 mainly because of controversies over imports of American beef. Taipei and Washington are expected to re-open talks under the TIFA in the near future, after Taiwan agreed to open its doors to U.S. beef containing the veterinary drug ractopamine, which was previously banned in the country. The U.S. has regarded Taiwan's ractopamine ban as a trade barrier and has implied on numerous occasions that a resumption of bilateral talks under the TIFA rests on the beef issue. Meanwhile, Lien said he will again express Taiwan's willingness to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalize the economies of the Asia-Pacific region, in eight years. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-07-27 08:28 GMT+08:00