The economic cooperation agreement signed between Taiwan and New Zealand passed its preliminary review in the legislature yesterday and was referred directly to the floor for its second and third reading.
Lawmakers on the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee and the Economics Committee approved the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC).
Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) and Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) thanked lawmakers across party lines for their support of the trade pact, which will take effect after being ratified by the legislature.
Asked about the status of negotiation on the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), Lin said the pact could be completed by the end of this year.
Several lawmakers asked why the ASTEP has been long overdue and asked Lin if China was obstructing the signing of the trade pact with Singapore.
Lin “gave [his] word” that China was not a factor in the case.
Lin told the joint committee that he had a 90-minute talk yesterday morning with Kurt Campbell, former US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific who had been a main architect of US President Barack Obama’s policy of rebalancing toward Asia, focusing on Taiwan’s access to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The US holds a positive view on the chance of Taiwan’s inclusion in the TPP, Lin said.
Meanwhile, the ministry said that the government-sponsored Taiwan External Trade Development Council will set up a mission in Myanmar, as part of the government’s efforts to foster closer economic relationship between the two countries.