Taipei will continue to promote its economic and trade relations with the US this year, with a focus on pushing for participation in the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said on Wednesday.
To create conditions favorable for Taiwan’s inclusion in regional economic integration initiatives, the country also needs to shore up its preparations for trade liberalization, King said while attending a New Year’s Day flag-raising ceremony held by the Taiwanese expatriate community in Washington.
Taiwan has on many occasions urged the US government to support its bid to join the TPP, which is currently being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim countries.
In his New Year’s Day address, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reiterated that his administration will work toward gaining membership in the TPP as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as part of efforts to boost the economy.
RCEP is being negotiated among the 10 ASEAN member states and their free-trade partners, including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
According to a recently published article by Evan Feigenbaum, a senior associate in the Asia Program at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, if the TPP is concluded this year, it will set a new competitive standard in Asia.
Major countries, including China, will need to adapt as the agreement begins to affect their economies, Feigenbaum said.
Although many people see the TPP and RCEP as competitors, he said competition between the two models “may change in 2014, as China has begun to take an interest in the TPP.”
Chinese reformers view external pressure, such as the pressure that the membership requirements of the TPP would entail, as a way to promote change at home, he said.