Taipei looks to start EPA talks with Japan

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Sep 30, 2017 - Page 4

Taiwan plans to continue its efforts to forge an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Japan by using a “building block” approach, a top Taiwan-Japan Relations Association official said on Thursday.

The two nations have been moving step by step toward talks on a bilateral EPA, said Chang Shu-ling (張淑玲), secretary-general of the Taipei-based Taiwan-Japan Relations Association.

The two sides have made great strides in terms of cooperation, entering into a bilateral investment agreement in 2011 and a pact in 2015 to avoid double taxation, Chang said.

They also agreed in November 2013 to set up the Taiwan-Japan Economic Partnership Committee as a platform for discussing economic, trade and investment issues, she said.

Using that platform, the two nations are to continue to push toward EPA talks, but have not yet set a timeline for signing such an agreement, Chang said.

In the middle of November, Taiwan and Japan are scheduled to discuss economic and trade issues at an annual meeting in Tokyo and are expected to sign a series of agreements to advance cooperation in those areas.

The two sides are also planning to hold a dialogue later this year on cooperation in maritime affairs, Chang said at a news conference following a meeting on Wednesday between President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Japan-Taiwan Relations Association Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi.

During the meeting, Tsai told Ohashi that Taiwan was looking forward to starting talks on joining the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and on forging an EPA with Japan, she said.

Tsai had also expressed the hope of seeing closer partnerships between the two nations and enhanced bilateral exchanges, Chang said.

Ohashi, who is on a three-day visit to Taiwan, has also met with Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and Premier William Lai (賴清德) to discuss the development of economic and trade ties between Taiwan and Japan, Chang added.