Taiwan hopes to reach an economic partnership agreement with Japan through a “building-block” process, Representative to Japan Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳) said.
Shen also said that Japan has expressed support for Taiwan’s bid to participate in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and that Taiwan would step up communications with the Japanese officials responsible for TPP talks.
He made the remarks in a report sent to the legislature for today’s committee hearing on the development of relations between Taiwan and Japan and the promotion of bilateral economic, cultural, tourism and academic exchanges.
Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) is expected to attend the hearing and field questions from legislators.
As part of this “building-block” process, Taiwan is now negotiating agreements on tax and customs issues with Japan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said.
Similar to a free-trade agreement, an economic partnership agreement between the nation and Japan would likely create a free-trade area between the signatories and deregulate certain immigration restrictions.
Such a trade pact would be an important step for the nation, which has been shut out of regional trade blocs.
Japan is the nation’s second-largest trading partner, and Taiwan is Japan’s fifth-largest trading partner, the report said.
Between January and September this year, Taiwanese companies invested US$669 million in Japan and Japanese firms invested US$273 million in the nation, it added.
As for tourism, 2.34 million Taiwanese traveled to Japan last year, while 1.42 million Japanese visited Taiwan during the same period, according to government statistics.
The number of total visits is expected to reach 4 million this year.
According to a report compiled by the representative office in Japan, the nation and Japan have signed 14 agreements since April 2009, including a working-holiday agreement, an investment protection accord, and a fishery agreement.
The two nations have also reached agreements on cooperation over e-commerce and financial supervision.
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