Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming headed for Singapore yesterday to attend a meeting of the trade ministers of APEC economies.
Yiin said prior to his departure that he would meet Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming (陳德銘) on the sidelines of the APEC meeting and exchange views with him on issues regarding the proposed signing of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan is hoping to sign the pact with China to avoid being marginalized amid the current trend of regional economic integration.
Both sides are separately examining the feasibility of the proposed framework and may conduct joint research as well before launching formal negotiations, which may begin later this year.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴辛媛) said on Tuesday in a speech in the US that Taiwan expects to sign the proposed ECFA with China next year to pave the way for eventual normalization of bilateral trade and economic relations.
Director-general of the Bureau of Foreign Trade Huang Chih-peng (黃志鵬) left for Singapore ahead of Yiin to arrange for the minister to meet WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, bureau officials said.
Huang will also arrange for Yiin to meet with his counterparts from six to 10 APEC member economies on the sidelines of the summit, the officials said.
The APEC meeting tomorrow and Wednesday will focus on three themes: resolving the global economic crisis, speeding up regional economic integration and rejecting protectionism in favor of a multilateral trading system.
Officials from the trade bureau said a statement would be issued at the end of the APEC meeting to express the 21-member forum’s strong opposition to relying on protectionism to fight the economic downturn.
The statement will also call on governments to focus instead on economic and social restructuring.