Thu, Aug 11, 2016 - Page 3 News List

John Deng picked to lead economic, trade negotiations

Staff writer, with CNA

Former minister of economic affairs John Deng (鄧振中), who on Tuesday was named a minister without portfolio, is to be responsible for overseeing the nation’s economic and trade negotiations with foreign governments, Executive Yuan spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) said.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) recommended Deng to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) because he hopes to make use of Deng’s expertise in economic affairs and trade negotiations, Tung said.

Deng has held several important positions in the administrations of former presidents Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), including deputy chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, deputy representative to the WTO, deputy representative to the US, chief representative of the Office of Trade Negotiations, deputy minister of economic affairs and deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council.

He took over the economics portfolio in December 2014 and held it until Ma left office on May 20.

It is widely believed that one of the most important tasks for Deng in his new post would be to assist the government promote the nation’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In an interview with the Central News Agency, Deng said that obtaining TPP membership is very important to Taiwan.

The government not only needs to strengthen its communication with the public to find a way of gaining entry that is acceptable to all sides, but also must try to ease the concerns of TPP members and win their support, he said.

Unless these issues are resolved, it will be impossible for Taiwan to join the bloc, he said.

In related news, the Presidential Office on Tuesday said that a national security adviser to Tsai has been appointed deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

Yao Jen-to (姚人多) replaces Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁), who is to become deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council.

The decision to transfer Tseng, a former diplomat, to the security council was made as part of Tsai’s efforts to build up the council’s strength in foreign affairs, the Presidential Office said.

Yao has been a key aide to Tsai, assisting her in promoting transitional justice, including apologizing to the nation’s Aborigines, and her promotion represents Tsai’s determination to push related reforms, the office said.

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