Jakarta favors regional ties: envoy

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Feb 20, 2014 - Page 4

Indonesia has a positive attitude on Taiwan’s efforts to join regional economic integration, Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia Representative Chang Liang-jen (張良任) said, adding that both sides have been discussing the possibility of signing a bilateral investment agreement to advance trade relations.

Chang was among a group of Taiwanese overseas envoys who returned to Taiwan to attend a four-day seminar organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs as part of the nation’s preparations for entering negotiations on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), two proposed trade blocs in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chang said the seminar, which began on Monday, is an opportunity to share experience with representatives posted in other countries and to brainstorm strategies to seek overseas support Taiwan’s bids.

Also attending the seminar was the nation’s Representative to Australia Katherine Chang (章小月).

“We will continue to seek Australia’s support for our TPP and RCEP bids,” she said.

Meanwhile, the group of overseas representatives were scheduled to visit central and southern Taiwan later yesterday and today to learn more about the country’s competitive industries and the development of the government’s “free economic pilot zones” to give them a better understanding of the nation’s trade liberalization efforts.

The government has repeatedly reiterated its desire to join the two trade blocs to avoid economic marginalization. It aims to complete the preparations by July.

Taiwan’s representatives to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, India, Peru, Chile, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines are attending the seminar.

Other participants include newly appointed Representative to the US Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) and Deputy Representative to the US Leo Lee (李澄然).

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 members of ASEAN, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The Indonesian government plans to establish a special economic zone in Morotai, one of Indonesia’s northernmost islands and the location of a Taiwan-Indonesia joint development project, Taiwan’s representative to Indonesia said.

“The decision to set up the zone is conducive to carrying out the joint development project,” Chang Liang-jen said.

The special economic zone is to offer special measures to attract investment in Morotai in such areas as fisheries and tourism, Chang told reporters in Taipei.

Taiwan and Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 covering the joint development of Morotai, the largest island of the resource-rich Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia.

The island, located 2,600km from Taiwan, has a population of about 50,000 and an area of about 2,400km2.