Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Former VP to act as trade bloc promotion convener

Staff writer, with CNA

Former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) will serve as the convener of a private group formed to promote Taiwan’s entry into two proposed Asia-Pacific trade blocs, the founding members of the group decided in a meeting on Friday.

The 20 founding members of the alliance to promote the nation’s bid to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are mostly from the business community, but also include people from academic circles and the government.

Siew’s leadership role does not come as a surprise given President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) comment on Jan. 1 that participating in the TPP and RCEP was a top priority for Taiwan and his invitation to the former vice president to set up a committee composed of private sector leaders to help organize the bids.

The group said Taiwan faces difficulties on two fronts: Domestically, Taiwan faces slow growth and a sluggish economy, the group said.

It suggested that the government urgently overhaul laws and regulations, and that the private sector upgrade its research and development capabilities to strengthen the nation’s economic structure.

Externally, trade conditions have deteriorated and the country’s export competitiveness has weakened, it said, adding that participating in regional economic integration is critical for creating a more favorable trade environment.

The purpose of the private promotion group is to pool the strengths of the private sector to provide assistance and advice to the government in developing and promoting its policies.

Its functions will be to build consensus; communicate and consult with the government; establish a platform for interactions, exchanges and consultations among different sectors; and solicit support to complement government lobbying efforts and gain international backing.

The TPP 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.

Among the founding members of the group are Presidential Office adviser Sean Chen (陳?), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) and Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘).

Other members include Acer Inc chairman Stan Shih (施振榮), Chinese National Federation of Industries chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄), Ruentex Financial Group chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) and Yulong Group chairman Kenneth Yen (嚴凱泰).

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