Fri, Nov 22, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Siew seeks to raise Taiwan’s US profile

MAN ON A MISSION:Siew has led a major delegation of Taiwan business leaders to the US intent on securing support for Taiwan’s membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Some in the US held an “ambivalent” attitude toward Taiwan’s pursuit of TPP membership, he said.

“They observe that Taiwan ‘talks the talk’ but fails to ‘walk the walk,’” he said.

By incorporating Taiwan into the TPP and further removing trade barriers, the importance of Taiwan’s market to US producers and exporters was certain to increase, he said.

“This is especially true given Taiwan’s institutional affinity toward the US and our cultural affinity toward mainland China,” he added.

He said it would make Taiwan “an ideal springboard” into China’s market for US companies, adding that the TPP would open up Taiwan’s markets and allow Taiwan to serve as an effective gateway to the rest of Asia and beyond.

“We hope the US will help Taiwan to join the TPP negotiations and we also hope that the US can invite China to participate,” he said.

Siew said Taiwan would have to do its own part. One high priority task would be to forge a domestic consensus on the overall direction of long-term cross-strait economic relations, he said.

“Deep mistrust between Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties has sometimes resulted in the gridlock of debate about a prosperous cross-strait economic relationship, but in fact, the two parties have more in common than most people think,” Siew said.

“Both want Taiwan’s economy to prosper and neither wants Taiwan’s freedom of choice to shrink,” he said.

This common ground should help form a domestic consensus and develop principles for guiding Taiwan’s long-term strategy and objectives in cross-strait economic relations, he said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party should cooperate to build a consensus to defuse tensions over cross-strait policies, he said.

“US support of Taiwan’s participation in the TPP is the first step in rejuvenating the US-Taiwan partnership,” he said. “It is time for Washington to act.”

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