Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Forum to discuss strategies on joining regional blocs

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Diplomats, officials, academics and businesses leaders are to gather on Monday in Taipei to formulate strategies to facilitate the nation’s accession to two emerging regional economic blocs, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) told a press conference yesterday.

The four-day seminar aims to “demonstrate the nation’s willingness and determination” to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Lin said, referring to the two possible pathways toward establishing a free-trade area in the Asia-Pacific, with the US or China expected to be major players.

Lin said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has attached “great importance” to the seminar after President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) instructed earlier this year that concrete plans for the two bids be completed by the end of July.

The nation’s representatives and economic counselors posted in 17 countries involved in TPP and RCEP negotiations will sit down with officials in relevant departments, academics and businesses leaders to discuss issues concerning the nation’s accession to the trading blocs, Lin said.

John Lai (賴建中), director-general of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs, said the seminar would include a tour to the designated free economic pilot zone in Kaohsiung Harbor and the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park to give the overseas envoys a better understanding of the nation’s efforts to prepare itself for further liberalization.

The envoys will also visit auto assemblers and machinery manufacturers in Greater Taichung to help them understand the key role Taiwanese firms play in global supply chains and how important the TPP and the RCEP are for the nation to retain its competitiveness, Lai said.

Separately, Lin said that preparations for a high-level meeting between the US and Taiwan this year under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) framework were under way.

The meetings provide both sides with a platform to conduct high-level dialogue on major economic and trade policies once or twice a year since it was established in 1994.

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