Wed, Feb 12, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Overseas envoys to gather in Taipei for trade talks

Staff writer, with CNA

A group of Taiwan’s overseas envoys are set to gather in Taipei to help with preparations as the nation steps up its efforts to gain entry into two proposed Asia-Pacific trade blocs.

The envoys, posted mainly in countries involved in the trade bloc negotiations, will attend a seminar being held to find ways to gain support abroad for Taiwan’s bids to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a Taiwanese official said.

One of the topics likely to be discussed will be the challenges Taiwan faces in signing economic agreements with other countries, said John Lai (賴建中), director-general of the Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The seminar will also include a briefing on Taiwan’s free economic pilot zones and visits to central and southern Taiwan, Lai said at a news conference.

“It is aimed at giving the overseas representatives a better understanding of the country’s trade liberalization efforts,” he said.

The four-day seminar, organized by the ministries of foreign and economic affairs, is to start on Monday.

Taiwan’s representatives to Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, India, Peru, Chile, Canada and Mexico are expected to return for the seminar, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to a diplomatic source, Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) will not return to attend the seminar, but Taiwan’s new deputy representative to the US will be present.

King was appointed secretary-general of the National Security Council on Friday.

Representative to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), who is to succeed King as the country’s representative in the US, will return to attend the seminar, the source said.

The TPP currently is being negotiated by the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations — Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.

The RCEP is being negotiated by all 10 ASEAN members, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Taiwan has repeatedly expressed its desire to join the two trade blocs to avoid being economically marginalized in the region.

The government has pushed aggressively to liberalize Taiwan’s economy to prepare for a free-trade environment, and has said it would continue to communicate the need for economic reform to the public while seeking the support of other countries.

It has set a goal of completing the preparations for Taiwan’s TPP bid by July, the Cabinet said.

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